Jock Zonfrillo wins the third edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize

The chef won thanks to his work recuperating the culinary traditions of Indigenous Australians

A frame from the video with which Australian Jock

A frame from the video with which Australian Jock Zonfrillo thanked the Basque Culinary Center and the Council of the Basque Culinary World Prize for choosing him as winner of the third edition 

Jock Zonfrillo has won the third edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize, the award dedicated to chefs who work to transform society through gastronomy. Australian (of Scottish-Italian origins) he’s the chef at fine dining restaurant Orana, at bistro Blackwood, and at food truck Nonna Mallozzi, all in Adelaide (here’s an interview with Zonfrillo by Carlo Passera). The chef thus receives an award of 100,000 euros to continue his work.

The announcement was given at Collegio San Carlo in Modena, at the end of the eighth annual meeting of the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center, with headquarters in San Sebastian, in the Basque country, though on this occasion Massimo Bottura and Osteria Francescana were hosting. 

Joan Roca, chair of the International Council that assessed the projects and chose the winner, said that it was first of all difficult to shortlist the ten finalists out of many excellent projects. «With this award – he said – we want to give visibility to people who are concretely working to promote social and civil transformation through food, and we’re thrilled that so many people are doing this around the world: it confirms the great power that cooking has these days».

The meeting of the Council which, on Monday 23rd July, in Modena, chose the winner out of ten finalists 

The meeting of the Council which, on Monday 23rd July, in Modena, chose the winner out of ten finalists 

«This year – he continued – we decided to give the award to a young chef who is giving visibility to the culinary traditions and raw materials of an indigenous community that has risked disappearing for many years, given how the Australian government acted concretely to erase their history. The brave and passionate commitment of Jock Zonfrillo allowed to recuperate these seeds and have them germinate once again».

Zonfrillo was not in Modena, but thanked for the award through a video sent from Adelaide: «I’m very proud to receive this acknowledgment for my work: I’d like to thank everyone at the Basque Culinary Centre and pay my respect to all the other finalists. Over the years I’ve worked passionately to recuperate the stories and traditions of an extraordinary community that welcomed me with huge warmth and enriched me immensely». The chef, of Scottish background and Italian roots, arrived in Australia in the Nineties and became immediately passionate about discovering the culinary culture, the traditional cuisine of Indigenous Australians. 

Jock Zonfrillo (photo Fool Magazine)

Jock Zonfrillo (photo Fool Magazine)

The prize-giving took place at the end of a Conference with chefs, artists and food writers, all in Modena to discuss the power of ideas, the strength of culture, the influence of art and the new ways of creating connections between people through gastronomy. «The Basque Country is a small place with two and a half million inhabitants, but thanks to the power of gastronomy, we are very visible and our influence on culture is strong. Starting from these thoughts we created this project,  to promote the transforming power of cuisine on a global scale», said the Vice Chair for Agriculture, Fishery and Food Policies of the Basque Government, Bittor Oroz, when introducing the award giving ceremony. 

«This year for the first time we had candidates from every continent, with finalists from Africa and Oceania too, which confirms the growth of the project. Every year we receive an increasing number of projects. This allows us to discover the chefs, male and female, who are changing their communities for the better. It doesn’t matter if they’re famous or not. In fact, it’s better if they are not», added the General director of the Basque Culinary Center Joxe Mari Aizega.

The jury that gave the prize was made of Massimo BotturaGastón Acurio (Peru), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Michel Bras (France), Dominique Crenn (USA), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Enrique Olvera (Mexico), and was chaired by chef Joan Roca (Spain). The other finalists in this third edition were: Matt Orlando (Denmark/US, here’s a recent interview by Identità Golose), Virgilio Martínez (Peru, here’s the piece on his speech at the latest edition of the Identità Milano Congress), Anthony Myint (United States), Caleb Zigas (United States), Dieuveil Malonga (Congo/Germany), Ebru Baybara Demir (Turkey), Heidi Bjerkan (Norway), Karissa Becerra (Peru), Marc Puig-Pey (Spain).

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso



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