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Massimiliano Alajmo could win the “ Nobel Prize ” of food
Massimiliano Alajmo could win the “ Nobel Prize ” of food

Massimo Bottura he is now on a permanent pastoral visit. Even when he is in his restaurant, the Osteria Francescana di Modena, the best in the world, not only gives you food, it gives you cultural legitimacy.

Because in recent years the role of the chef in relation to the world around him has changed, today it is impossible to limit him within the four walls of a kitchen. Returning to Bottura, just think of his Food for Soul project.

Now there is a prize for chefs, kitchen brigades and restaurants who work in the social field, a sort of "Nobel Peace Prize" awarded to chefs.

The Basque Culinary World Prize, scheduled for 11 July, is the idea of one of the most important cooking schools in the world: the Basque Culinary Center, with the support of the Basque government.

Competing for the coveted prize are 20 finalists divided into four areas (North America, South America, Europe and Africa)

The winning project will be awarded with 100,000 euros, and Italy also has its finalist: Massimiliano Alajmo, three Michelin stars for the restaurant Le Calandre.

In 2004 he created Gusto per la ricerca: the foundation hosts a dinner every year in which the main Italian chefs participate, in this way it manages to raise funds for research against childhood cancer diseases.

From this year, with the Transparent Tables side project, those who book in one of the 300 restaurants that adhere to Gusto for research can donate the equivalent of the price paid for the meal.

The other finalists in the competition are:


Joshna Maharaj (Canada) - The chef has long been known as an activist in Toronto and is highly regarded for renewing her network of local suppliers, favoring the short supply chain and fresh food.

Gabriel Garza (Mexico) - Thanks to a previous experience in a center for the blind, he has developed a strong sensitivity to the subject. His project involves teaching culinary techniques to the blind, so that they can provide for themselves. They develop other senses for cooking (such as smell, or hearing) and the recipes are written in Braille.

Alicia Gironella (Mexico) - Pillar of Mexican gastronomic culture, the project in which she is engaged now - at the age of 85 - is called Semillaton and deals with the safeguarding of some Mexican ingredients at risk of extinction, such as the seeds of Mexican corn.

José Andrés (USA) - After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he created the Central World Kitchen, to promote local activities, spread basic hygiene and safety standards and to enhance local cuisine. It organizes culinary training courses, in order to create jobs and funds for activities such as orphanages and hospitals.

Daniel Boulud (USA) - He is co-director of the CityMeals on Wheels project, a solidarity chain that distributes free meals to people in difficulty within the New York metropolitan area: every year, at least 2 million meals are distributed to 18,000 New Yorkers.

Ann Cooper (USA) - A staunch supporter of healthy 'cooked from scratch' meals, her project aims to teach parents the best way to feed their children with even very symbolic gestures: for example, by donating salads to schools.

Jessamyn Rodriguez (USA) - Her Hot Break Kitchen aims to create artisanal bakers from people in need, low income, minorities and migrant women.


David Hertz (Brazil) - His project starts from the favelas of São Paulo and Rio: over the years, he has trained more than 1,800 people in the kitchen, with an occupancy rate of 80% and minimal abandonment.

Kamilla Seidler and Michelangelo Cestari (Bolivia) - Their Melting Pot Project aims to train chefs with a strong local gastronomic identity through 2-year courses. By 2017, they aim to have 3,000 students.

Leonor Espinosa (Colombia) - Her project aims to work with Colombian indigenous and descendants of African immigrants, so that they can enhance their traditional crops and cuisine. It publishes results and knowledge for it to spread.

Manoela Buffara (Brazil) - Thanks to about twenty local Brazilian producers, it has created an ecological agricultural network, which aims to spread indigenous crops even in their diet among the indigenous people.

Maria Fernanda di Giacobbe (Venezuela) - Venezuola is one of the largest cocoa producers in the world, and the chef has not lost an opportunity: she is leading a project to introduce women to chocolate processing, with already 1,500 graduates.

Rodolfo Guzman (Chile) - He has a research center where he explores new ways of cooking and eating. It works with universities and indigenous peoples to recover crops and change wrong eating habits.

Teresa Corção (Brazil) - Her Maniva Institute has always supported local farmers. His commitment to the use of tapioca (a Brazilian tuber), which is somewhat the symbol of Brazil, is remarkable.


Alberto Crisci (United Kingdom) -With Clink Restaurants, he is responsible for educating inmates in English prisons through the kitchen in order to facilitate their reintegration into society once they are free.

Ángel León (Spain) - Two Michelin stars for his Aponiente restaurant, Angel Léon fights for the exploration of the ocean (of which we know only 40% of the potential) and for a conscious use. It also uses some water products, such as phytoplankton, to clarify wine.

Carlos Zamora (Spain) - His Depersonas project focuses on training and employing young people with learning difficulties in the world of work.

Nani Moré (Spain) - Produces and directs popular documentaries, arguing that food for better nutrition must be produced locally and at low cost.


Margot Janse (South Africa) - In addition to running a successful restaurant in South Africa - The Tasting Room - Janse is committed to tackling the malnutrition of school-age children. Thanks to funds from the Netherlands, around 1,300 meals are produced a day for local school children.

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