Nominate a Chef for ‘Nobel Prize’ of Cooking

The Nobel Prize neglects the art and science of cooking and one group of top chefs want to remedy that omission. Already, this latest international chef award has been dubbed the Nobel Prize of cooking and it is now accepting nominations for the world’s most important chef. In case you haven’t been following this story. nominations close April 30.

Launched earlier this year by a group of some of the world’s top chefs including Gaston Aucrio and Joan Roca (whose restaurant El Celler de Can Roca is the current title-holder for world’s best restaurant) The Basque Culinary World Prize was created to honor industry leaders who use gastronomy as a powerful force for change. The organization itself calls it a search for chefs who improve society through gastronomy.

What does that mean, one might ask. More than being a talented chef, the winner will have improved society through cooking be it through the invention of a culinary innovation; a commitment to social responsibility; sustainability; health or environmental campaigns; cultural projects or work that has a positive impact on the food industry. No doubt, some will look askance at such a project, chalking it up to hubris and the impulse towards self-gratification. For example, any winner is likely to see the fortunes of his restaurant and possible related businesses rise as a result.

The award was launched earlier this year out of the Basque Culinary Center.

“With this prize, we hope to share with the world stories of chefs that are using gastronomy for a better future. We need people to nominate those who are fighting for it in any way, even on a small scale: we are all part of the revolution,” said one of Italy’s star chefs, Massimo Bottura.

Jurors include some of gastronomy’s biggest heavy-hitters, including Heston Blumenthal, Dan Barber, Ferran Adrià, René Redzepi, Michel Bras, Roca, Bottura and  Acurio — all Michelin-starred chefs.

A list of 20 finalists — chosen by the jury — will be released in May and the winner announced July 11.

To be considered for the prize, chefs have to be nominated online by a professional from the world of gastronomy. The winner will receive €100,000 to devote to an institution or project of their choice that demonstrates the wider role of gastronomy in society.

Once again, nominations close April 30.

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