Hospitality June 2020

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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