Frequent questions



What is the Basque Culinary World Prize?

The Basque Culinary World Prize (BCWP) is an international award created to celebrate the way gastronomy can transform our society, by recognizing chefs who have made an impact “beyond the kitchen”. Promoted since 2016 by the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) and the Basque Government, this prize underlines the strength of gastronomy as a driving force for change.

This project recognizes the progress made by the culinary sector after a generation of chefs realized they could move beyond the conventional limits of their profession to integrate awareness and skills in a field rich with dynamic exchange. And most importantly, these chefs understood that they could contribute to society beyond the kitchen.

Each year, our 10 finalists reflect a movement led by inspiring and game-changer chefs such as Dan Barber, Rene Redzepi, Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters and José Andrés, who have for decades assumed responsibility to make a positive impact on society.

The BCWP highlights the achievements of men and women with transformative iniciatives who used their kitchens to influence society, by working in fields such as culinary innovation, health, nutrition, education, environment, social development or, in general, through actions that have a positive impact on the food industry.

Chefs of any nationality can be nominated for prize, either for a sustained work throughout his or her career or for specific initiatives. All active professionals from the world of gastronomy – for example a fellow chef, food writer, food supplier, or an institution – can submit as many nominations as they consider necessary at 

The prize includes a grant of 100,000 euros to be spent on a project of the winner’s choosing that expresses the transformative power of cuisine. 

What constitutes a chef with “transformative initiatives”?

When we talk about transformation, we are talking about change. Thus, the Basque Culinary World Prize aims to recognize chefs with a transformative vocation whose work brings about relevant changes in areas such as education, health, nutrition, environment, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, industry, social or economic development, among others.

What the Basque Culinary World Prize is not:

BCWP awards people (not projects) with a career and/or prominent actions in areas such as development, innovation, research and creativity. It is not a prize exclusively for chefs with charitable or social projects. We are interested in chefs with projects that demonstrate innovation, research and creativity.  We believe that chefs can have a positive impact on society in many different ways. The scope of the prize is not restricted to those involved in charitable work or explicitly helping disadvantaged groups, as important as those activities are. We understand that a chef’s impact can also be felt in broader and more diverse ways.

What is the timeline for the prize?

The nomination period will be open from February 15 to May 15, 2019. The nominations are reviewed by our Technical Committee, which consists of academics and culinary experts. This committee will announce the 10 finalists in June. Then, the Jury gathers during the meeting of the Basque Culinary Center International Council to deliberate and choose the winner (by majority vote). The result will be announced in July. The award ceremony will take place in autumn in the Basque Country.

Who backs the prize?

The prize is granted and promoted by the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) and Basque Government through the framework of the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy. The BCC was founded in 2011 with the support of some of the world’s most influential chefs to promote education, research and innovation in gastronomy. Through this prize the BCC aims to promote a deeper understanding of what cooking represents today, by inviting us to reflect on the role that chefs play in today’s society, as well as the way in which cuisine can serve as a transformative force in society.

The Basque Government promotes this prize as part of the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy. This initiative is supported by all Basque governmental institutions and celebrates the Basque Country for its deeply engrained values such as a strong work ethic, dedication, tenacity, talent for transformation and equal opportunities for men and women.

Is it an annual prize?

This is the fourth consecutive edition of the prize. At the end of each year, the next edition of the prize is reviewed and evaluated.

Who funds the prize?

The prize is a public-private initiative that receives founds from the Basque Government.


Nomination process

How are chefs nominated?

Chefs can be nominated online via

Who can submit a nomination?

Any professional in the gastronomic field. The knowledge, strength and voice of the international culinary community are crucial to discovering people with transformative initiatives who may not be known by the greater public. 

What profile should be considered when nominating a candidate?

A chef can be nominated for his or her work on specific projects as well as for sustained, continuous actions. We are looking for transformative people, chefs capable of generating change in areas such as education, health, nutrition, environment, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, industry, social change, or economic development.

Do the nominees have to be currently working in a kitchen?

Not necessarily. They should, however, have a background as a chef.

Can a chef nominate him or herself for the prize?

No, chefs must be nominated by active professionals of the gastronomy sector, institutions or other industry-based entities.

Can a chef who was nominated in previous years be nominated again in 2019, even if he or she was once among the finalists?

Yes, if the nominee’s work has progressed during the past year and deserves to be reconsidered. The only exception are winners of previous editions of the Basque Culinary World Prize, since the same person can not win the award twice.

Do nominations remain anonymous?

The BCWP does not disclose any information about who submitted nominations to either the general public, the Technical Committee or the Jury. In the interest of fairness and transparency, nominations remain anonymous.

Can one person nominate more than one candidate?

Yes, a person can nominate as many candidates as they consider necessary.

Must nominated chefs have certain qualifications?

No, the candidates do not require any formal qualifications or academic certifications to be nominated. However, he or she must have a professional background as a chef.

How is the information provided about nominees verified?

The BCWP Secretariat validates the information included in the nominations. It investigates and prepares a detailed report with all the necessary information for the individual evaluation of each candidate, first by the Technical Committee, in which the Top 10 finalists are decided, and then by the Jury.

Can members of the Board and International Council of BCC or the Technical Committee and Jury of BCWP nominate candidates? 


How will the winner be evaluated and selected? Do some criteria have more weight than others, for example, culinary excellence or social responsibility?

The winner has to demonstrate through concrete action the transforming power of gastronomy either through specific projects or a sustained impact throughout his or her career. The Prize Jury will deliberate to decide which finalist best represents this values of the BCWP. There is no formal weighting of the criteria – it is up to the jury to decide.

Can members of the Board and International Council of BCC or the Technical Committee and the Jury of BCWP be nominated?

No. All of them are excluded for being part of 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).

Is the number of nominations received by a candidate taken into account when the finalists are selected by the Technical Committee?

No, the purpose of the nomination process is to compile a list of potential winners. Whether a person is nominated once or receives dozens of nominations, the candidature is evaluated in the same way.


About the Jury

Who are the members of the Technical Committee in 2019?

Dr. Xavier Medina, social anthropologist and director of the UNESCO Chair on Food, Culture and Development; Jorge Ruiz Carrascal, Affiliated Professor in the Food Science Department of the University of Copenhagen; Pia Sörensen, Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University; Carlos Zamora, chef and consultant, and Iñaki Martínez de Albeniz, PHD in Sociology and professor at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).

Who are the members of the Jury in 2019?

The 2019 Basque Culinary World Prize will be awarded by a jury comprised by members of the International Council and Board of the BCC, other chefs and experts, and is chaired by Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca, Spain). It includes renowned chefs such as Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Italy), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, USA), Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz, Basque Country), Eneko Atxa (Azurmendi, Basque Country), Kyle and Katina Connaughton (SingleThread, USA), Manu Buffara (Manu, Brazil), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Narisawa, Japan), Enrique Olvera (Pujol, Mexico), Trine Hahnemann (Hahnemanns Køkken, Denmark) and Jock Zonfrillo (Orana, Scotland / Australia), winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2018, together with experts in other disciplines such as Lynda Deakin (IDEO, USA), Tucker Taylor (Jackson Family Wines, USA), Emiliana Puyana (La Cocina, USA).

How does the jury make their decision?

During a closed meeting on the International Advisory Board’s annual session, the jury will deliberate over the finalists until choosing, by majority, the new winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize. Candidates will be assessed from an interdisciplinary perspective. Their profiles will be evaluated based upon their projects context, relevancy, and impact.

What qualifies the chefs on the Jury to choose the winner of this prize?

The members of International Council of the Basque Culinary Center are prime examples of how gastronomy can be a transformative force. The Council members exemplify the mission of this award, having promoted new approaches to and perspectives on cuisine. Thus, the chefs and experts from other fields that comprise the Jury are qualified to make this decision based on an interdisciplinary approach.

If a member of the Jury have a personal or a professional relationship with one of the ten finalists, could this situation affect the Jury’s decision?

If a jury member works with or is associated with any of the candidates, the jury member will not take part of the evaluation of this candidate.

How does the BCWP encourage nominations of chefs and countries that are less known for their culinary expertise?

Anyone directly involved in the culinary world can nominate candidates from anywhere in the world via the Basque Culinary World Prize website. We also invite academic institutions to submit nominations. Through these networks, we hope to identify lesser-known chefs.


About the prize

Who can win this prize?

Chefs who are transforming society through gastronomy and making an impact “beyond the kitchen”. Men and women who use their kitchens to influence society, by working in fields such as culinary innovation, health, nutrition, education, environment, social development or, in general, through actions that have a positive impact on the food industry, regardless of his or her degree of public recognition or country of origin. In order to be considered, candidates must have a professional culinary career and be involved in concrete actions. Their work will be assessed, as well as the relevance, context and the impact generated.

Can there be a draw?


What does the winner receive?

The winner receives 100,000 Euros that he or she must donate to a transformative project of his or her preference. The designated project must comply with the criteria established by the Basque Culinary World Prize.

How does the BCWP ensure that the prize money is used appropriately and not for commercial purposes?

After the winner is notified that he or she has been awarded the Basque Culinary World Prize, the winner’s chosen project is reviewed to determine if it makes a valuable contribution in terms of transforming society through gastronomy. The winning chef may be involved with the chosen project, but the chef cannot receive any commercial profit directly from it. Subsequent use of the prize money must be fully documented. The prize promoters ensure proper use of the award money.