This year’s group of finalists highlights chefs who have made significant contributions towards transforming society through gastronomy. According to the organizers of this prestigious award, the Basque Culinary Center and the Basque Government, this year’s finalists demonstrated "how gastronomy could become a transformational force in areas ranging from innovation to education, health, research, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and economic development."
The ten finalists are Anthony Myint (USA), the co-founder of ZeroFoodprint, a non-profit that helps business reduce their carbon footprint; Caleb Zigas (USA) the executive director of San Francisco's La Cocina social incubator that helps low-income people become business owners; Dieuveil Malonga (Congo/Germany), the founder of Chefs in Africa, an organization that supports young chefs from African countries; Ebru Baybara Demir (Turkey), who works to empower Syrian refugees through initiatives like the “Harran Gastronomy Project”; Heidi Bjerkan (Norway), the sustainability champion and chef at Credo; Jock Zonfrillo (Australia/Scotland), the chef and founder of the Orana Foundation in support of indigenous communities; Chef-activist Karissa Becerra (Peru) of the non-profit group La Revolución; elBulli veteran Marc Puig-Pey (Spain) of the Fundació Alícia for his work educating children and adults with dietary restrictions; Matt Orlando (Denmark/USA), the chef at Amass and a vocal opponent of food waste; and Virgilio Martínez (Peru), the chef at Central and Mil and the force behind the biological and social research center Mater Iniciativa.
The members of the Basque Culinary Center International Council – a prestigious international committee that is chaired by Spanish chef Joan Roca – will convene on July 23rd in Modena (Italy) to choose the 3rd winner of this acclaimed award. The winner will be announced the following day, and will receive 100,000 euros to donate to a project of his or her choice.