The future of society starts in Modena

Yesterday and today, Bottura is hosting the Basque Culinary Prize. The award is 100K euros to change the world through gastronomy

24-07-2018

In Modena, yesterday and today, 23rd and 24th of July, the 8th annual meeting of the international directors of the Basque Culinary Center with headquarters in San Sebastian, in the Basque Country, is taking place. This time, however, they are hosted by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana. It’s a not-to-be-missed event, because of its energy and the horizons that will widen in front of the participants.

The occasion is the announcement, today in the afternoon at Collegio San Carlo, of the winner of the third edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize. It’s an honour to be among the ten chefs and patrons selected out of 140 candidates because of their capacity «to create change that will change society». It’s even more important to get the very first place. Because of the prestige of the award, and of the prize itself, 100,000 euros that will be given to a project that will give a new direction to the gastronomic industry.

 

Massimo Bottura and Ruth Reichl

Massimo Bottura and Ruth Reichl

What makes the Basque Culinary Centre exceptional, is its capacity to open to the world and create relationships with other entities, cultures and countries. For many Italians this is something almost unimaginable, because here most people would just criticise the fact there are people who aren’t at least Spanish involved. Instead, the Basque Culinary Center’s network is such that they are very strong and lively.

Take the jury that met yesterday to decide the winner out of the seven men and three women in the finals. It is led by Catalan Joan Roca, and includes another Catalan, Ferrán Adrià, as well as Peruvian Gastón Acurio, Italian Massimo Bottura, French Michel Bras, Danish René Redzepi, English Heston Blumenthal, Brazilian Alex Atala, American Dan Barber, Mexican Enrique Olvera, Japanese Yoshihiro Narisawa, French-Californian Dominique Crenn, as well as Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe, from Venezuela, who won the first edition with a project on cocoa. No Basque people.

 

Peruvian Virgilio Martinez is one of the 10 finalists in the 2018 edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize, the third edition overall

Peruvian Virgilio Martinez is one of the 10 finalists in the 2018 edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize, the third edition overall

Today, before announcing the winner, there will be a very rich conference titled: Trasforming society through gastronomy. As part of it Botturawill speak of a beautiful topic with Ilse CrawfordDaniele De MicheleBee Wilson and Andoni Luisa Aduriz: Trans-pollination. Then Gaston AcurioRuth ReichlDavid GelbJR and Lara Gilmore will discuss How to Connect with People. And at 3 pm the prize itself, with Bittor OrozJoxe Mari AizegaLeonor Espisona, who won in 2017, and Joan Roca. Finally Enrique OlveraDominique Crenn and Manu Buffara. They will cover another very current topic, given the shadows and dark atmosphere hanging over Europe: The challenge of a melting pot.

There won’t be any banal speech. I’m particularly interested in listening to David Gelb and Bittor Oroz. The first is the man behind the international success of Chef’s table on Netflix.

David Gelb, creator of Chef's table on Netflix, one of the speakers on Tuesday 24th July in Modena

David Gelb, creator of Chef's table on Netflix, one of the speakers on Tuesday 24th July in Modena

Being selected for an episode, will guarantee endless and high quality fame. Oroz is instead the Vice Minister for agriculture, fishery and food policies of the Basque country. I’m curious to find out if he will speak in vain of gastronomy, like most of our politicians and administrators, or if he’s competent and broadminded. I’d go for the second option.

A final note: in the audience, some 200 chefs, patrons and journalists. As for us at Identità Golose, we’re glad to be chosen as media partners, with an invitation coming from San Sebastian and then from Modena.