Silo chef Doug McMaster has been named one of 10 finalists from across the world in the running to win the international Basque Culinary World Prize 2019.
The award recognises trailblazing chefs whose work has had an impact “beyond the kitchen” and was last year won by Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo for his work safeguarding Aboriginal culinary traditions in Australia.
McMaster was recognised for his work at Silo, the formerly Brighton-based zero-waste restaurant which advocates ‘upcycling’ – reusing materials to create a product of higher quality than the original – over recycling. The concept will be moving to London later this year.
The prize is organised and promoted by the Basque Government under the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy and the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), and of 230 nominations for 150 chefs from 42 countries, the 10 finalists included:
• 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 Kingdom)
• Anthony Myint (USA)
• Lars Williams (USA – Denmark)
They were chosen by a technical committee formed of academic and culinary experts representing institutions including Harvard University, Copenhagen University, Open University of Catalonia and the University of the Basque Country.
The winner will be chosen by an international jury of chefs and interdisciplinary experts during the ninth annual meeting of the Basque Culinary Center International Council in San Francisco.
The announcement will be made on 16 July during a ‘Sustainable Thinking’ symposium co-hosted by three-Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn with this year’s theme focusing on how gastronomy can propel the sustainability agenda.
The jury will be chaired by Celler de Can Roca chef Joan Roca and will include Eneko Axta, Massimo Bottura, Crenn, Yoshihiro Narisawa and last year’s winner Zonfrillo.
The winner will be awarded €100,000 (£88,837) to devote to a cause that expresses the ethos of the prize: to transform society through gastronomy.
Bittor Oroz, Basque Government deputy minister for agriculture, fishing and food policy, said: “This fourth Basque Culinary World Prize is necessary to consolidate and continue promoting the values of excellence, commitment, quality and dedication to transformation pursued by the award.”
Joxe Mari Aizega, general director of the Basque Culinary Center, said: “Professionals and institutions in the gastronomic sector from different parts of the planet have participated, helping us to discover a great variety of inspiring personalities, whose work demonstrates the social impact of gastronomy when it is part of a broad and diverse movement.”
Pia Sörensen, director of the science and cooking programme of Harvard University, said: “The list of finalists highlights the important and innovative work being done by chefs from diverse regions and in a range of highly current fields connected to gastronomy, not only as a source of inspiration but as a tangible and concrete expression of how this collective is taking action.”