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Basque Culinary World Prize 2018: The Finalists

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Basque Culinary World Prize 2018: The Finalists

The shortlist for 2018’s Basque Culinary World Prize has been released, with 10 top chefs making the cut.

Virgilio Martinez, Jock Zonfrillo and Ebru Baybara Demir are amongst those in the running for the prize, which seeks to highlight culinary professionals who are having a positive impact on society through gastronomy.

Promoted by the Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian, the winner, who will be announced at a ceremony in Modena, Italy on 24 July, will receive 100,000 Euros for a good cause of their choice.

Nominations opened back in March, with any culinary professional able to nominate a fellow pro. A top international chefs jury, including Dominique Crenn, Joan Roca, and Massimo Bottura, the same jury who will decide the eventual winner, judged all nominations on merit rather than nominations received.

Last year’s winner was Colombian chef Leonor Espinosa, also Latin America’s Best Female Chef 2018, who was picked for her pioneering work improving the food systems of her home country’s poorest rural communities.

Here are the details of all this year’s finalists:

Ebru Baybara Demir
Turkish chef who works with Syrian refugees, largely women, in the border regions, training them to become cooks and encouraging cultural exchange between Turks and Syrians.

Virgilio Martinez
Pioneering Peruvian chef who, along with wife Pia Leon and sister Malena, is, through restaurants Central and more recently Mil, and their research arm Mater Inciativa, seeking to promote and protect Peru’s astonishing biodiversity and rural communities.

Matt Orlando
A Noma alumnus, Californian Orlando and his team at Amass restaurant in Copenhagen have managed to flip their landfill and recycling stats over the last couple of years by completely switching their viewpoint of ‘waste’ products and upcycling everything destined for the bin.

Marc Puig-Pey
A longstanding part of the kitchen team at elBulli, chef Puig-Hey designs food solutions for people with dietary restrictions and is working to improve the food options for people undergoing treatment for serious illnesses.

Karissa Becerra
A chef, writer and activist, Becerra is trying to transform food education in her native Peru, using her background in anthropology and philosophy.

Jock Zonfrillo
Scottish-born, Australia based chef who through his Orana Foundation and the restaurant of the same name is helping to support and promote aboriginal communities, their food systems and their products.

Heidi Bjerkan
A former Norwegian Royal chef who is providing training and work opportunities for immigrants and refugees through her social accelerator Vippa.

Dieuveil Malonga
This Congolese chef helps to better the prospects of African chefs by providing training and advice through his Chefs in Africa platform, a network over 4000-strong currently.

Caleb Zigas
Pastry chef who offers a platform for low-income people in San Francisco to start their own micro-businesses though his social incubator La Cocina, as well as local entrepreneurs.

Anthony Mynit
Another San Francisco based chef, Mynit co-founded The Perennial Farming Initiative and ZeroFoodprint and advises restaurants on how to reduce their carbon footprint, and has also established his own sustainable restaurant, The Perennial.

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