FEATURE // Basque Culinary World Prize
Rising to the challenge In the midst of a crisis, it can be hard to think beyond the immediate future and surrounds. But the Basque Culinary World Prize is helping chefs to do just that. WORDS Madeline Woolway PHOTOGRAPHY Basque Culinary Center THIS YEAR, AN industry known for its
in gastronomy, celebrating its ability to
10 internationally recognised chefs
biggest challenge — restaurants, cafes and
lockdown, the Center is pushing on with its
three hours, the live-streamed event
vibrancy has come face to face with its
bars across the world have had to close
their doors. The global hospitality sector is diverse, with some challenges unique to specific venues and others felt by all.
The widespread shutdown of societies has touched countries across the globe, and
the culinary profession has been one of the hardest hit. But, if there’s a sector capable of adaptation, it’s the hospitality industry. The dedication to morphing is apparent
in the work of the Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian, Spain. For the past decade, the institution has encouraged innovation 24 | Hospitality
transform society. Even with the world in
mission. The institution brought together
more than 1000 people to listen as previous
winners, nominees and jury members of the Basque Culinary World Prize discussed their
trials and tribulations along with their hopes for a post-pandemic world.
Hospitality stayed up late into the night
to join the Basque Culinary Center’s Sasha Correa as she spoke to chefs over Zoom. Here, we share lessons learned.
At 12:30am on Thursday 1 May, Australian time, the Basque Culinary Center gathered
together for a virtual discussion. Over tackled a pressing issue: the COVID-19
pandemic’s impact on restaurants and the possibility of lasting change, not just for the industry but for society at large.
Joxe Mari Aizega, director of the Basque
Culinary Center, led the discussion with a call to arms.
“Five years ago, we started walking down
the path of the Basque Culinary World
Prize,” he says. “There is no bigger challenge than the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the
defining issue of our times, and with the
culinary world disproportionately affected