Asia Pacific

Inaugural BBVA scholarship from the World’s 50 Best restaurants goes to Jessie Liu

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The 24-year-old Taiwanese chef was selected ahead of more than 1,000 applicants

The scholarship, developed by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in collaboration with global financial group BBVA, has been created to nurture the legacy of culinary excellence.

Jessie Liu from Taipei, Taiwan, will be spending three months working with supporting chefs – first with Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz in San Sebastián, which came ninth in the 2017 listing. She will then travel to San Francisco where she will work with Dominique Crenn – who was named the 2016 best female chef –at Atelier Crenn.

Liu, who lives and works in Melbourne Australia and has just two years of cooking experience, calls the prize a dream come true. “Despite never having been to culinary school, I now have more confidence to prove myself as a professional chef. Working in kitchens has always been very exciting and humbling for me and I am ready to step it up a notch,” she says. “I hope in the future I can give back to the industry by offering young chefs the same opportunities that I have been lucky enough to receive.”

She will attend the 2018 awards ceremony for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Bilbao this summer before undertaking six-week stages at each of the restaurants.

“The 50 Best BBVA Scholarship will offer Jessie and future winners the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shadow and learn from some of the globe’s most celebrated chefs,” says William Drew, group editor of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. “Jessie impressed us with her determination to succeed, her passion for developing new dishes, her respect for the world around her and her appreciation of cooking as an art form. We have no doubt she will go on to great things in the restaurant world.”

The scholarship was awarded based on a number of judging stages led by the 50 Best and BBVA representatives, alongside Crenn and Aduriz. “Life is about inspiring people, but also being inspired by others; about being curious, but also offering the next generation what you have learnt,” says Crenn. “Being part of this mentorship is a real gift for us, helping us to understand where we are today and where we can be tomorrow.”

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards will take place in Bilbao on 19 June 2018.

Tina Nielsen