US chef, Anthony Myint wins the Basque Culinary World Prize

US chef, Anthony Myint wins the Basque Culinary World Prize
Anthony Myint wins the Basque Culinary World Prize, credit: Alana Hale
18/07/2019 - 05:00
Myint was named as the winner of the Basque Culinary Prize 2019, an award for chefs around the world whose work has transformed society through gastronomy.

Myint through his ZeroFoodprint project and the Perennial Farming Initiative advised businesses on how to reduce their carbon footprint and even go carbon neutral. He convinced dozens of high-end restaurants, including Noma (Denmark) and Benu (San Francisco) to join his ‘crusade’ for sustainability.

Myint said: "I started cooking because I believe restaurants can make the world a better place and becoming a parent seven years ago really inspired me to explore what chefs can do about climate change.

“Since then, scientists have confirmed that healthy soil and good farming can solve global warming! I’m truly excited that the Basque Culinary World Prize brings attention to the optimistic solutions in the food world, and I’m incredibly honoured to represent what I hope is the beginning of a much larger movement.

“I believe that all of us across the food world – chefs, diners, farmers and policy makers – can come together to create a renewable food system. Restaurant have an opportunity to restore—to actually re-store – all of the carbon that was once in the soil".

The US chef will be awarded €100,000 to devote to a cause or an institution of his choice. The 2018 winner, Jock Zonfrillo, was dedicated to discovering and defending the food culture of Australia’s indigenous people, which had been excluded from the national culinary identity. 

Joan Roca, chair of the Basque Culinary World Prize jury, added: "Instead of contributing to the problem of climate change, gastronomy can be part of the solution.

“More than raising awareness, Anthony Myint calls for action by providing concrete tools for our industry to reduce its impact on the environment and to be an active part of the collective efforts that are required to fix this universal problem, rallying us to be part of the change”.

The ten finalist chefs who were under consideration for the prize 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) and Lars Williams (USA-  Denmark).        

British finalist, Douglass McMaster spearheaded a movement that has now become an international phenomenon when he opened the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant. He advocates for ‘upcycling’ – reusing materials to create a product of higher quality than the original – over recycling.

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