Basque Culinary World Prize 2017 opens for nominations

Basque Culinary World Prize 2017 opens for nominations

The Basque Culinary World Prize is inviting gastronomic professionals to nominate chefs who have “improved society through gastronomy”.

The contest is in its second year. Nominations should be submitted on the Basque Culinary World Prize website, and the nomination period will remain open for two months until Tuesday 2 May.

Nominated chefs should be men or women whose impact can be “felt beyond the kitchen”, in areas such as innovation, research, health, environment, or social development. The winner will receive a prize of €100,000 (£8,573) to devote to a project that reflects the wide role of gastronomy in society.

Nominations must come from another professional who is currently working in the gastronomy world. This could be a chef, food writer, food supplier, or institution.

The winner will be announced on Sunday 16 July 2017 at the meeting of the International Committee of the Basque Culinary Center in Mexico City.

Last year’s winner was Maria Fernanda di Giacobbe, who won out over 110 nominations from over 30 countries worldwide.

The judging process includes a first round selection by the Prize Committee, a group of academics from the Basque Culinary Center and other universities, plus special guests including Elena Arzak, Spanish chef and operator of Ametsa with Arzak Instruction in London.

The ten finalists will then be judged by a panel of high-profile chefs who make up the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center, including chair Joan Roca (Spain), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Dan Barber (US) and Heston Blumenthal (UK).

There will also be Gastón Acurio (Peru), Dominique Crenn (France), Alex Atala (Brazil), Michel Bras (France), , Massimo Bottura (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan), Enrique Olvera (Mexico) and René Redzepi (Denmark), plus di Giacobbe, who will also join.   

Others to join the prize jury will include celebrated Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel (author of Like Water for Chocolate); and Kirmen Uribe, Basque novelist, poet and playwright.

“The Basque Culinary World Prize identifies men and women working in gastronomy and striving to excel,” says Joan Roca, jury chair and co-owner of three Michelin-starred El Cellar de Can Roca. “Those innovative, creative, determined - and sometimes impetuous - trailblazers who are engaged with their community and demonstrate every day how gastronomy can be an engine for transformation.”

“Gastronomy can have a positive influence on society when chefs take on the responsibilities that come with having a public voice,” says Joxe Mari Aizega, head of the Basque Culinary Centre. “In the second year of the prize, we aim to uncover more examples of great work ‘beyond the kitchen’ from chefs around the world - whether they are known or unknown.”

Blumenthal, chef patron of The Fat Duck in Bray, adds: “The Basque Culinary World Prize is important as it identifies those men and women making a difference ‘beyond the kitchen’ to create a change through innovation and creativity. I’m looking forward to celebrating chefs who are striving to improve society through gastronomy. As chefs, we have a responsibility to do more with communities around the world.”

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