Professionals and institutions within the gastronomic sector have until 15 May to nominate chefs who have had a transformative impact in areas ranging from innovation and technology to education and the environment, from health to social and economic development.
Last year’s prize was awarded to Australian-based chef Jock Zonfrillo, chef-owner of Adelaide’s Restaurant Orana.
The Basque Culinary World Prize is an annual award that is now in it’s fourth year. It was created by the Basque Government and the Basque Culinary Center to celebrate the impact gastronomy can have when chefs use their creativity, knowledge, leadership and entrepreneurialism to generate change within society.
Each year, the chef whose work embodies the prize’s ethos to transform society through gastronomy receives 100,000 euros, which he or she will devote to a cause of his or her choice that expresses the transformative power of gastronomy.
“The knowledge of cooks can be used to provide solutions to the many problems where food plays a fundamental role,” says Joxe Mari Aizega, director of the Basque Culinary Center. “Through their expertise, creativity, commitment to excellence — and often boldness — chefs are showing that it is possible to make a huge difference to realities on the ground. This edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize will continue to prove this”.
To support the nominations period, a sustainability-focused dinner was hosted by the Basque Government and Basque Culinary Center at Massimo Bottura’s London-based community kitchen, Refettorio Felix on 6 May. The dinner fostered a dialogue on nominations coming from chefs establishing breakthroughs in sustainability. Chefs Douglas McMaster, chef-owner of Silo, the UK’s first zero waste restaurant, and Merlin Labron-Johnson, the executive-chef of The Conduit, London’s first members’ club for social-impact driven entrepreneurs, prepared a meal using food offcuts.
“When we started Silo, everyone said it would fail in six months,” says McMaster. “I’m elated that we’ve kept it going and shown that being ethical does not mean compromised equality. The idea of zero waste has exploded globally over the last few years and I like to think we at Silo have had some small part to play in this. Chefs really can play their part in bringing about radical social change.”
At the closing of the nominations period, the candidates will be evaluated and ten finalists will be chosen by a technical committee, made up of academic and culinary experts.
The Basque Culinary World Prize winner will be selected from the 10 finalists by the Prize Jury made up of influential chefs, together with academics and international experts. The winner will then be announced at an event hosted by chef Dominique Crenn in San Francisco on 16 July 2019. This year’s jury will be chaired by the chef Joan Roca (Spain), and include Gastón Acurio (Peru), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Michel Bras (France), Yoshihiro Narisawa, (Japan), and Enrique Olvera (Mexico), among others.