US Chef Anthony Myint has been named as the recipient of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2019; an award given to a food professional in recognition of their use of gastronomy as a force for positive change.
Myint, from restaurant Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco, was picked for his work tackling one of society’s most pressing challenges: climate change; with his ZeroFoodprint project which helps restaurants reduce their carbon footprint or become carbon neutral and the Perennial Farming Initiative, an organisation helping to promote sustainable agricultural practices.
Joan Roca, Chair of the Prize Jury, said: "Instead of contributing to the problem of climate change, gastronomy can be part of the solution. More than raising awareness, Anthony Myint calls for action by providing concrete tools for our industry to reduce its impact on the environment and to be an active part of the collective efforts that are required to fix this universal problem, rallying us to be part of the change.”.
The US chef and restaurateur will now be awarded €100,000 to devote to a cause or an institution of his choice that demonstrates the wider role of gastronomy in society.
Speaking of the win Antony Myint said: "I started cooking because I believe restaurants can make the world a better place and becoming a parent seven years ago really inspired me to explore what chefs can do about climate change. Since then, scientists have confirmed that healthy soil and good farming can solve global warming! I’m truly excited that the Basque Culinary World Prize brings attention to the optimistic solutions in the food world, and I’m incredibly honored to represent what I hope is the beginning of a much larger movement. I believe that all of us across the food world: chefs, diners, farmers and policy makers can come together to create a renewable food system. Restaurants have an opportunity to restore—to actually re-store all of the carbon that was once in the soil".
Myint was selected from a shortlist of 10 finalist chefs including Selassie Atadika (Ghana); Mario Castrellón (Panama), Siew-Chinn Chin (Malaysia- USA); Giovanni Cuocci (Italy); Xanty Elías(Spain); Virgilio Martínez (Peru); Cristina Martínez (Mexico- USA); Douglas McMaster(United Kingdom); Anthony Myint (USA) and Lars Williams (USA- Denmark) by a panel of top chefs, including Joan Roca, Dominique Crenn, Yoshihiro Narisawa and Massimo Bottura.
Last year’s winner was Scottish/Australian chef Jock Zonfrillo, chosen for his pioneering work with the Orana Foundation, a project to protect the culinary traditions of first Australians, Leonor Espinosa won in 2017 for her work reviving Columbian culinary traditions and María Fernanda Di Giacobbe from Venuzuela won the inaugural edition in 2016 for her contribution to the local cacao industry.