Finalists include Virgilio Martínez and South Philly Barbacoa's Cristina Martínez.

By Bridget Hallinan
June 20, 2019
Courtesy of the Basque Culinary World Prize.

Between Michelin, The World’s 50 Best, and the James Beard Foundation, the culinary awards cycle runs around the clock—and more news broke today. The Basque Culinary World Prize, which recognizes “trailblazing chefs whose work has had an impact 'beyond the kitchen,'” just announced its 2019 finalists, ten chefs from ten different countries. The award, in its fourth year, was created by the Basque Government under the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy and the Basque Culinary Center. Over the course of three months, 230 nominations poured in from 42 different countries (150 chefs total were nominated), marking the largest participation to date.

This year’s finalists include Cristina Martínez of the beloved South Philly Barbacoa, a chef, immigrant, activist, and leader of the #Right2Work initiative; Selassie Atadika of Midunu in Accra, Ghana, also made the top ten, highlighted for her work of “opening doors of opportunity for Ghana through food” and leading an all-women team. Below, the full list of finalists:

Selassie Atadika (Ghana)

Mario Castrellón (Panama)

Siew-Chinn Chin (Malaysia – USA)

Giovanni Cuocci (Italy)

Xanty Elías (Spain)

Virgilio Martínez (Peru) 

Cristina Martínez (Mexico – USA)

Douglas McMaster (United Kingom)

Anthony Myint (USA)

Lars Williams (USA – Denmark)  

Both Virgilio Martínez and Myint were finalists in 2018 as well. The winner will be chosen by an an international jury of chef and interdisciplinary experts who work in fields related to gastronomy, including Dominique Crenn, Enrique Olvera, Massimo Bottura, Joan Roca, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Eneko Axta, Manu Buffara, Katina and Kyle Connaughton, Trine Hahnemann, Yoshihiro Narisawa, and Jock Zonfrillo, the incumbent BCWP 2019 winner, according to the announcement.  And on July 16, we’ll find out who takes home the 100,000 Euro (roughly $113,000) grand prize—to be presented during a symposium co-hosted by Crenn called “Sustainable Thinking.” The prize is meant to be used toward “a cause that expresses the ethos of the prize: to transform society through gastronomy.”

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