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.

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.

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. Chefs of any nationality can be nominated for the prize at Nominations can come from any active professional from the world of gastronomy – for example a fellow chef, food write, food supplier, or an institution.
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:
It’s 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 is open until mid-May 2018. The nominations are first reviewed by the Prize Committee, which consists of academics and culinary experts. In June this committee announces 10 finalists. Then, in July, the Jury gathers during the meeting of the Basque Culinary Center Advisory Council to deliberate and choose the winner (by majority vote). The result is announced immediately.
Who backs the prize?
The prize is awarded by the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) and the Basque Government. 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 third consecutive year the prize has run. At the end of each year, the next iteration of the prize is reviewed and evaluated
Who funds the prize?
The prize is a public-private initiative.

Nomination process

How do you nominate a chef nominated?
Chefs can be nominated online via the nomination form located at
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. Thus, we strongly encourage the sector’s participation in the nomination process.
What profile should be considered when nominating a candidate?
A chef can be nominated for his 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.
Can a chef nominate him or herself for the prize?
No, chefs must be nominated by professionals active in the gastronomy sector, institutions or other industry-based entities.
Can a chef who was nominated in 2017 be nominated again in 2018, even if they were among the 2017 finalists?
Yes, if the nominee’s work has progressed during the past year and deserves to be reconsidered. The only exception is winners of previous editions of the Basque Culinary World Prize, since the same person cannot win the award twice.

Do nominations remain anonymous? The BCWP does not disclose any information about who submitted the nominations to either the general public, the Prize 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 wish.
Do the nominees have to be currently working in a kitchen?
Not necessarily. They should, however, have a background in the kitchen.
Must nominated chefs have certain qualifications?
No, a chef does 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 will validate the information offered in the nominations. It will investigate and prepare a detailed report with all the necessary information for the individual evaluation of each candidate, first by the Prize Committee, in which the Top 10 finalists are decided, and then by the Jury.
Can members of the BCC, its Board of Trustees, the International Committee, the Prize Committee or the Jury nominate candidates?
How will the winner be evaluated and selected? Will the scoring be weighted in favour of some evaluation criteria over others, for example, culinary excellence or social responsibility? 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 with projects linked to topics such as culinary innovation, health, nutrition, education, the environment, social development or, more generally, through actions that have a positive impact on the food industry. The Prize Jury will deliberate to decide which finalist best represents this ethos of the BCWP. There is no formal weighting of the criteria – it is up to the jury to decide.
Can a member of the BCC, its Board of Trustees, the International Committee, the Prize Committee or the Jury be nominated?No.
Is the number of nominations received by a candidate taken into account when the finalists are selected by the Prize 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, their nomination is given equal consideration by the Prize Committee.

About the Jury

Who is on the 2018 Prize Committee?
Elena Arzak is one of the world’s most renowned chefs and head chef at Arzak, which has three Michelin stars and is located in San Sebastian. Dr. Xavier Medina, social anthropologist and director of the UNESCO Chair on Food, Culture and Development; Jorge Ruiz Carrascal, professor of the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark); and Melina Shannon Di Pietro, director of MAD, René Redzepi’s project in Denmark.
Who is on the 2018 Jury?
The 2018 Basque Culinary World Prize will be awarded by a jury comprised by the members of the BCC International Council and chaired by chef Joan Roca (Spain). It includes celebrities such as Gastón Acurio (Peru), Dan Barber (United States), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Michel Bras (France), Dominique Crenn (USA), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Enrique Olvera (Mexico), among others. Leonor Espinosa from Columbia, the winner of the 2nd Basque Culinary World Prize, will join the abovementioned group, in addition to leading experts from other disciplines.
How does the jury make their decision?
During a closed meeting during the International Advisory Board’s annual session, the jury will deliberate over the finalists until choosing, by majority, the winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize.

Candidates will be assessed from an interdisciplinary perspective. Their profiles will be evaluated based upon their project’s (or projects’) context, relevancy, and impact. Each finalist will be independently evaluated with his or her celebrity having no impact on the decision.

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 knows one of the ten finalists or works with one of them could their relationship affect the Jury’s decision?
If a jury member works with or is associated with any of the candidates, the jury member must abstain from the voting round for said 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 throught gastronomy, how have made an impact “beyond the kitchen”. Men or women 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, regardless of his or her degree of public recognition or 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 and context of their projects, 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 choosing. 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 vetted 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.
The Basque Culinary World Prize seeks out transformative chefs, that is, men and women with the vocation to create change. We wish to honor the work of entrepreneur-chefs focused on excellence, innovative and creative people who go against the grain and are tenacious or even reckless but, above all, are committed to affecting positive change in their environment. This award recognizes the work of those who choose to use cooking to influence their society by involving themselves in development projects.