Chef José Andrés has been announced as the winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2020 for his World Central Kitchen (WCK) project.
Andrés was chosen for providing a global and collaborative response from gastronomy to the most pressing challenge of our time: the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year, alongside the winner, nine chefs including African chef Elijah Amoo Addo, were recognised for their creativity and commitment in helping society by going beyond the kitchen.
In the true spirit of the award, this year’s winner José Andrés announced that he would share his prize money with the nine chefs who were recognised for their work.
Ghanaian chef Elijah Addo leads Food for All Africa – an organization dedicated to feeding vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa and recovering surplus food provided by supermarkets and restaurants – received special recognition for his work and commitment.
Through projects like Chefs on Wheels, Elijah has been a vital community leader during the pandemic by distributing solidarity meals, which have been more necessary than ever since many social eateries on which hundreds of people depend are temporarily closed.
The hospitality sector in Ghana, like in many other countries, was seriously affected by the pandemic.
Since 40% of the workforce depends on the sector, the closure of hotels, bars and restaurants in the country meant that many struggled during the pandemic.
Therefore, Elijah’s volunteering network has been critical in caring for children and young people in catering during these challenging times.
As all are well aware, this year the sector was particularly affected by the pandemic.
So, professionals from all corners of the planet turned to find creative solutions from gastronomy.
For this reason, this year the BCWP focused on chefs who have offered inspiring, courageous and impactful responses. Professionals in the sector who have helped to cope with a global and collective crisis.
Joxe Mari Aizega, Director General of the Basque Culinary Centre, said: “A year like 2020 has put us to the test and so the Basque Culinary World Prize highlights how the sector had an important part to play in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. Chefs understood that they could harness their knowledge, leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity to help society in different ways.
“The pandemic has highlighted the contributions of our sector in its entirety, so it was not enough to announce just one winner, but to recognize, with the 10 special recognitions, the performance of exemplary professionals who have used their knowledge, creativity and will to influence in society, making the best use of the transformative capacity of gastronomy.”