The Basque Culinary World Prize committee to select top 20 finalists

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th May 2016

The Prize Committee of the Basque Culinary World Prize will meet today in Palacio Villa Suso, Vitoria in Spain to select the award’s Top 20 finalists.  The prize, which will be won by a chef who has made a positive impact on society through gastronomy, will be awarded for the first time in July this year.

Joxe Mari AizegaThe Prize Committee is made up of chefs, academics and specialists in the prize criteria who will select the strongest twenty nominations from the 230 entries received in the prize’s first year. 

Joxe Mari Aizega, Head of the Basque Culinary Center, said: “When we established The Basque Culinary World Prize, we hoped that we would uncover   examples of great chefs who are making a positive impact on society. And the response has been even better than anticipated. The quality and diversity of the nominations will make choosing just twenty a very challenging process, which is why our Committee – with its multidisciplinary perspectives – will be invaluable.

“The nomination process has proven that there is a huge appetite to celebrate chefs that have made a positive difference to their community, wherever they are.”

Entries came from over 30 countries worldwide, and a total of 110 chefs were nominated. The­­­ projects for which they have been nominated include everything from innovation to education, health, research, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and philanthropy, and the preservation of local cultures.

The Basque Culinary Prize will be awarded at the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) in San Sebastian, a world leading academic institution in gastronomy. The prize is organised and promoted jointly by the BCC and the Basque Government under the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy.

>>> Read more about the Basque Culinary Prize here 


Members of the committee include Elena Arzak, one of the most celebrated chefs in the world and head chef at the Michelin-starred Ametsa in London; Dr F. Xavier Medina, author, social anthropologist and leading scholar of Food and Culture at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) in Barcelona; Frédéric Duhart, author and leading expert in anthropology and the history of food; Marta Miguel Castro is a Research Associate at the CIAL Institute of Research in Food Science who focuses on food components and their role in treating or preventing metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes; and  Jorge Ruiz Carrascal, Professor of the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

Elena Arzak Elena Arzak commented:"It’s really inspiring to see that chefs are doing such good work - some even forming new networks or teams - to help with problems that effect us all. It’s something we couldn’t have even imagined a few years ago and I’m so proud of my peers. 

"Picking a winner will be a tough but exciting job. It may be someone who is already recognized as a pioneer ‎or someone who is not yet well known. That is what makes it exciting." 

The chosen Top 20 will have demonstrated either culinary innovation; a commitment to social responsibility, sustainability or the economic development of their community; involvement in health or environmental campaigns; the promotion of pioneering cultural projects; or works that benefit society through their positive impact on the food industry.  

The names of the Top 20 Finalists will be announced on 26 May at an event at the Blue Hill restaurant in New York City.  

The overall winner will be chosen from the top twenty by a Prize Jury when they meet to make their final deliberations at the annual meeting of the International Committee of the Basque Culinary Center on 11 July this year.  The Prize Jury will include the chefs on the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center including Joan Roca (Spain): Gastón Acurio (Peru), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Alex Atala (Brazil), Dan Barber (US), Heston Blumenthal (UK), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Michel Bras (France), Dominique Crenn (France), Yukio Hattori (Japan), Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and René Redzepi (Denmark)

To judge the prize, the Council will be joined by leading experts in related disciplines, including US food scientist and writer Harold McGee; Massimo Montanari, a professor of Medieval History at Bologna University and one of the leading world experts in Food Studies; renowned novelist Laura Esquivel; and Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

 The winner will receive €100,000 to devote to an institution or project of their choice that demonstrates the wider role of gastronomy in society.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th May 2016

The Basque Culinary World Prize committee to select top 20 finalists