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 Covid-19 emerged as one of the biggest challenges of our time, neither the mechanics nor the approach of Basque Culinary World Prize could have been the same. It had to rise to the circumstances and therefore highlight the role of gastronomy as a particularly affected industry, but also as one actively involved in the present global response.
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.
A NEW EDITION
The BCWP, in its 6th edition and having highlighted the healing capacity of gastronomy amidst the devastating effects of the pandemic in 2020, continues to champion the transformative force of gastronomy with inspiring stories of chefs who, like in so many around the world today, are generating social change through cooking.
For more details, see our frequently asked questions.See FAQs
Nomination period begins.
The call for culinary professionals to nominate candidates begins.Online nominations
31/ Nominations deadline.
Nominations are closed.
Analysis and screening of candidates: nominations are carefully evaluated to ensure that they meet the criteria and profile of the award based on a holistic and interdisciplinary approach.
The winner is announced.
The BCWP Jury deliberates to choose and announce the 2021 winner.
Award ceremony gala.
Representatives of the Basque Government will present the award to the winner during a special event held in the Basque Country, health and safety conditions permitting.
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.
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 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), Trine Hahnemann (Denmark) and Mauro Colagreco (France).
José Andrés – a Spanish-American chef and owner of a chain of restaurants in the United States – established WCK 10 years ago, assembling chefs from around the world and mobilising them to provide a global and cooperative response to a variety of emergency situations.
He has already used his influence to support political and humanitarian causes such as helping to create food resiliency in the face of disasters in Haiti and Puerto Rico, and has spent years promoting immigration reforms and job improvements in the catering sector. Throughout, he has been aware that the kitchen can be an engine for social change.
During the challenges created by the pandemic, WCK has played an important role. When the spread of coronavirus began to escalate in March, José Andrés took action, both in cities across the US and in Spain. With the health crisis at its worst in Spain, WCK was running around 150 kitchens in 10 cities with the support of local chefs, food banks and the Red Cross. The organisation showed that during the pandemic it had evolved into a global collaborative initiative between chefs across the world.
As an owner of a large chain of restaurants in the United States, this Asturian chef points out that “only those who work in the restaurant sector can help revive the economy while at the same time rebuild communities.” Founded ten years ago, WCK has intervened in many countries and mobilized thousands of volunteers and cooks from around the world. In addition, the chef has spent years promoting immigration reforms and workplace improvements for the restaurant sector, aware that the kitchen can be an engine of social change.
2020: ONE WINNER AND 10 SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS
Facing the impact of the pandemic, BCWP paid close attention to chefs carrying out inspiring and meaningful work, in order to share a strong, powerful, multiplying and collective message, by not only announcing one winner but also giving 10 special recognitions, to celebrate the work of 10 inspiring people, that show what happens when chefs use their strength, creativity and talent to connect with their communities in such demanding context, while giving examples of cooperation and responsibility.
From operating solidarity kitchens, to facilitating access to food to people in need as hunger proves to be one of the biggest growing effects of this crisis. From re-establishing supply chains for small producers; to chefs providing direct support to restaurant workers as our industry continues to struggle with the consequences of closed bars and restaurants.
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.