Basque Culinary World Prize
Transforming society through gastronomy
A generation of international chefs have now expanded their role in society and redefined their profession by reaching a broader sphere of influence beyond the kitchen. All over the world, chefs have come to understand that they can use their knowledge, leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity to be part of the transformation of society.
The Basque Culinary World Prize was created to celebrate this evolution: to highlight the diversity and scope of this phenomenon in which gastronomy has come to be a powerful force for change, to underline a movement inspired by game-changers such as Dan Barber, Rene Redzepi, Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters and José Andrés, amongst others, who have for decades worked to take gastronomy farther, having a positive impact on society.
This prize celebrates a chef of any nationality who demonstrates how gastronomy can have a positive impact in fields such as culinary innovation, health, nutrition, education, the environment, the food industry, social or economic development, among others.
As this year is special because of the circumstances we are going through, we want to persist with this initiative more than ever, highlighting the transformative power of gastronomy. As a result, in addition to identifying people carrying out inspiring work, such as those we have promoted up until now, we will pay particular attention to the chefs who, facing the impact created by the Covid-19 pandemic, are carrying out brave and creative initiatives to cope with the crisis.
Every year an interdisciplinary jury, featuring some of the world’s most influential chefs, academics and experts, chooses the candidate who best embodies the mission of this unique global award, granted and promoted by Basque Culinary Center (BCC) and Basque Government through the framework of the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy.
For more details, see our frequently asked questions.See FAQs
19/ Nomination period begins.
The call for culinary professionals to nominate candidates begins.Online nominations
Nominations are submitted to the Technical Secretariat that verifies the nominees meet the award criteria.
Finalists are announced.
The Technical Committee reviews candidate profiles. Then the Committee chooses and announces 10 finalists.
The winner is announced.
The BCWP Jury deliberates to choose and announce the winner
Award ceremony gala.
The winner receives the award from Basque Government authorities at a special event held in the Basque Country.
The Basque Culinary World Prize is an award for chefs (not for projects). To be considered, chefs have to be nominated by another professional currently working in the world of gastronomy – for instance, another chef, food writer or food supplier, or an institution.
After receiving nominations from all over the world, our Technical Committee chooses 10 finalists: each year, the Top 10 gives a representative selection of people who, all over the world and in different scales, is transforming society through gastronomy from different perspectives. Then, the Jury gathers during the annual meeting of the Basque Culinary Center International Council to deliberate and select the winner.
The winner will have the chance to allocate 100 thousand euros to an initiative of his or her choice, which expresses the transformative power of gastronomy.
The prize has been won by Anthony Myint (BCWP 2019), for addressing the connection between food and climate change and by helping his pears reduce the environmental impact of their restaurants while supporting carbon farming. Jock Zonfrillo (BCWP 2018) for dedicating 18 years to discover and defend the ancient food culture of Australia’s native people, which has been largely excluded from the national culinary identity; Leonor Espinosa (BCWP 2017) for her work with indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities to transform their biological, cultural and intangible heritage into tools for socio-economic development; and María Fernanda Di Giacobbe (BCWP 2016), who has built a whole chain of education, entreprenuership, and economic development around Venezuelan cacao.
Technical committee 2020
An interdisciplinary group of experts analyzes the candidates received through our open nomination process, and chooses 10 finalists based on their work in areas such as culinary innovation, health, nutrition, education, the environment, the food industry, social or economic development, among others.
Our Top 10 gives, each year, a representative selection of chefs who, all over the world and in different scales, are transforming society through gastronomy from different perspectives.
The committee is made by academic and culinary experts representing elite global institutions including Harvard University, Copenhagen University, Open University of Catalonia, and the University of the Basque Country.
The members of the BCC International Council demonstrate the broad sphere of influence chefs can achieve when they transcend the conventional boundaries of their profession. Thus, this group is charged with selecting the winner with the help of leading international experts, and they can not be nominate for the prize. The International Council is formed by: Massimo Bottura (Italy), Joan Roca (Spain), Dan Barber (United States), Gastón Acurio (Peru), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Alex Atala (Brazil), Heston Blumenthal (United Kingdom), Michel Bras (France), Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Rene Redzepi (Denmark), Dominique Crenn (France/United States), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Trine Hahnemann (Denmark).
Through conviction, persistence and creativity, Anthony Myint uses cooking to tackle one of the most pressing challenges in today’s global society: climate change. Based in San Francisco, he leads initiatives such as ZeroFoodprint that draw attention to the environmental impact of restaurants and provides tools for chefs to reduce or eliminate their businesses’ carbon footprint, regardless of location. Over 30 influential restaurants from around the globe, such as Benu and Noma, have applied this methodology. Through The Perennial Farming Initiative, Myint has joined forces with the state of California to support sustainable agriculture practices.
Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe
Basque Culinary Center
A pioneering academic institution for a pioneering prize.
The Basque Culinary Center (BCC) is a pioneering academic institution created in 2011 with the support of Mondragon University and seven top Basque chefs, including Juan Mari Arzak, Pedro Subijana and Andoni Luis Aduriz.
Located in one of the world’s major gastronomic capitals, the institution is in a unique position to bring together a wealth of talent. Courses encompass higher education, research, innovation and the promotion of gastronomy and nutrition. The BCC’s mission is to become the benchmark in their field, as well as to highlight the impact the modern chef can have on their profession, culture, community and the wider world.
From the very start, it has been backed by some of the most influential chefs in the world who now form our International Council. Chaired by Joan Roca (Spain), it is also formed by Massimo Bottura (Italy), Dan Barber (United States), Gastón Acurio (Peru), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Alex Atala (Brazil), Heston Blumenthal (United Kingdom), Michel Bras (France), Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Rene Redzepi (Denmark), Dominique Crenn (France/United States), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Trine Hahnemann (Denmark).
The BCC shares with them the sense of vocation that links gastronomy to other disciplines, and that same desire to make a positive contribution to the community through concrete actions.
Euskadi Basque Country
Euskadi is a land privileged by its gastronomic resources. Uniquely, it has been the cradle of many important movements and figures in the history of contemporary global cuisine. Although firmly rooted in its traditions, Basque cuisine has always known how to mix tradition with innovation. It has established trends and become a source of inspiration for other global models of fine dining.
The pleasure of eating and drinking, respect for local produce, and a love for creativity, innovation and collaboration are the remarkable characteristics of the Basque people that set them apart. It is no coincidence that this is the region with more Michelin stars per capita, and with some of the most interesting and influential culinary offerings.
With an exceptional combination of sea, mountains and fertile valleys – beautiful spaces ideally suited to gatherings – and the people’s untiring devotion to culinary excellence, Euskadi is an ideal place to host such an innovative award. Through the Basque Culinary World Prize, these values: quality, excellence and a ‘talent for transformation’ – will be celebrated.
Basque Government is interested in promoting social inclusiveness, innovation and innovation around the world. Together with gastronomy, these are values of the prize that are already closely associated with the Basque Country – values we want to celebrate through the prize.