Since the February 2016 introduction of the Basque Culinary World Prize, this blog has been a fierce defender of it.  The reasons are multiple: it shows off our best values; it shares a better image of the Basques in the world; it reinforces the idea that we are “The Culinary Nation“; it helps raise the prestige of that great project that is the Basque Culinary Center; it fuses together that profile (defined by many as the “Nobel of Gastronomy” to the term “Basque,” with all the positive connotations that has.

There are many reasons to defend belonging to the creation of this prize, but they can all, we believe, be summed up in the fact that it represents two of the aspects that we Basque considered our society’s best values: our solidarity and our world-class gastronomy.  What’s more, its ability to transmit a better image of us abroad is supreme.

To understand all this, it’s a good idea to read the article penned by culinary (and much more) journalist Aylin Öney Tan, in the English-language Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.  We’ve already spoken of this journalist on the blog (in even the same publication as today), when she wrote an article about her visit to Bilbao where she also pointed out that she is an architect.

In today’s article, she profiles the solidarity espoused by this year’s winner, Ebru Baybara Demir, which goes back through 25 years of commitment by supporting some of the most vulnerable populations, especially women, with quality cuisine as the tool for social change.

The world is full of good people who are doing good things, many of them with great efficacy and excellent responses.  When we start feeling sarcastic, we start wondering why stories like these never appear in the international sections of different media: a quarter of a century of extraordinary work must mean less than the actions of a sorry soul who kills two people in Turkey or somewhere else.  We live in a world where the media “reward” and spread evil, and hide or downplay the work of those who are carrying out these extraordinary acts everywhere every day.  Maybe that’s why we’re becoming sickly societies full of fear.

The Basque Culinary World Prize sets the spotlight, even if just for a while, on these best people (in this case, in the world of gastronomy) and, moreover, it gives them resources to help them advance their projects even more.

On the other hand, from a “country marketing” point of view, we can see that the world “Basque” is being positioned right next to these good practices.  This helps us rebuild our image as a society after so many years of its having been worn down by the violence of some and the interest of others in turning that violence into our defining trait.  Must be the price to pay for insisting on being Basque.

The article by Aylin Öney Tan shows us all that.  We loved discovering more about the amazing work of Ebru Baybara Demir and we loved seeing how this Basque reward for her amazing work has been precisely defined as a “Basque” affair.

Hurriyet Daily News – 19/6/2023 – Turkey

A long path, a quarter-century of effort

June 7 was a big day for Turkish Chef Ebru Baybara Demir who has won this year’s Basque Culinary World Prize. When she had a zoom call with the jury, she was with her team, and she thought she was to be scrutinized on the documents she had previously presented for review. Instead, the call was to declare that she had won this year’s prize. She was ecstatic, jumping like a child, with all her close supporters around her breaking into tears.

(Follow) (Automatic translation)


Last Updated on Dec 3, 2023 by About Basque Country

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