We’ve had the pleasure of speaking, quite a bit, about the Basque Culinary World Prize.  And we’ve done so because it is one of the top-level elements of the Basques in the world.  It brings together aspects that are of great importance throughout the world and in which Basques have a long and storied tradition: cuisine and social commitment.

As we always say, this award, set in motion by the Basque Government and the Basque Culinary Center seeks to “celebrate 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”.

The idea of combining both elements to produce this award seemed absolutely brilliant to us.  And it was put in practice, it has to be said, right: backed with resources, it’s an award that fulfills its objectives and achieves what it set out to, getting spectacular reach and magnificent results.  This was obvious from the get-go: the first awards were reported in media throughout the world, who ended up calling it the “Nobel prize of cuisine”.

This year, of course, was a bit different.  Like with everything, COVID-19 stole the limelight, leaving everything else on the back burner.

But that didn’t stop the 2020 awards from being handed out, and we now have a winner: renowned chef José Andrés.  Born in Mieres, in Asturias, he trained as a chef in Catalonia, and has built an amazing career, and fame, in the United States.

He was awarded for his work with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) project/program, with which he’s been mobilizing restaurant professionals from around the world in an unprecedented rollout, where cooperation and co-creation, established alongside local leadership, have been key.

What’s more, inspired by the commitment shown by many chefs during these past few very hard months, ten special mentions were made to “give 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”.

We always remember the lead photo in the incredible article the New York Times published about the Noriega Restaurant.  He was in it, smiling broadly, during the event in which the Basque restaurant in Bakersfield, California (which has tragically just closed due to COVID-19) received one of the five America’s Classics awards given out by the James Beard Foundation, to restaurants for their “timeless appeal,” serving “quality food that reflects the character of their communities”.

Zorionak! both to José Andrés and to the ten chefs who received special recognition.  And to all those who made this award possible, eskerrik asko!

The news about the fifth annual Basque Culinary World Prizes were just published.  We’re bringing you some articles about them we’ve found, along with the award’s website, which explains why these awards were given.

Basque Culinary World Prize – 7/2020 – Euskadi

Edición 2020

El Basque Culinary World Prize (BCWP) es un premio internacional creado para distinguir a chefs con iniciativas transformadoras en ámbitos como el de la innovación, la salud, la nutrición, la educación, medio ambiente, desarrollo social o, en general, a través de acciones que impactan positivamente en la sociedad. Considerado el «Nobel de la Gastronomía» por la crítica especializada, reconoce la evolución alcanzada por la gastronomía luego de que una generación de chefs comprendiera que se podía contribuir con la sociedad más allá de la cocina.

(Spanish) (Basque) (English) (Automatic translation)

Corriere della Sera – 23/7/2020 – Italy

Lo chef José Andrés vince il Basque Culinary World Prize, il Nobel per la gastronomia solidale

Alessandra Dal Monte

Oltre 150 mila pasti freschi al giorno. Distribuiti a famiglie con bambini, anziani, persone ammalate o sole in tutti gli Stati Uniti. Con la sua ong «World Central Kitchen», creata dieci anni fa per combattere la fame e la povertà, lo chef ispano-americano José Andrés, 51 anni, si è subito attivato anche in tempi di Coronavirus per aiutare le persone che non riuscivano ad accedere al cibo. Una velocità di reazione — e una capacità organizzativa — che gli sono valse il Basque Culinary World Prize, il premio istituito nel 2016 dal governo basco e dal Basque culinary center per sostenere i progetti che più sanno aiutare la collettività attraverso la gastronomia.