Andrés Torres awarded the Basque Culinary World Prize 2024

The war correspondent turned chef and humanitarian is the ninth winner of the prestigious prize, which was launched to recognize chefs for their social work

The Spanish chef and humanitarian has been unveiled as the latest winner of the prize, launched by the Basque Culinary Centre to recognize chefs who make an impact beyond the kitchen. Torres was awarded for his work on two interconnected projects: an NGO called Global Humanitaria and his restaurant Casa Nova in Penedés in Cataluña, Spain.

With a past as a war reporter, he now focuses on food security, education and children’s rights across ten countries, including Ukraine, Colombia and Syria. His sustainable restaurant Casa Nova, which has earned a Michelin Green Star uses its profits to fund the Global Humanitaria projects while the sustainable methods used in the restaurant are inspired by the communities he has visited over the years.

Torres was delighted to follow in the footsteps of colleagues that he admires and who have won the prize before him. “This recognition celebrates my work and acknowledges the efforts of many dedicated individuals. It is particularly meaningful to join the ranks of professionals I admire who have received this prestigious award in recent years,” he says.

“After more than 25 years of undertaking solidarity projects, this award reaffirms my belief that persistence and collaboration can indeed drive change,” he says. “I am convinced that merging culinary expertise with solidarity can significantly impact lives, whether by promoting healthy habits or combating issues like child malnutrition.”

Significant contribution

Almost a decade in, the prize has gained traction in the industry. The winners – who are selected by a jury of esteemed chefs – receive a €100,000 grant to spend on a project of their choosing. “This award provides a crucial boost to the projects I lead, highlighting the power of our collective efforts,” explained Torres. “I also hope that such awards inspire more professionals to become actively involved in making a positive difference.”

Chair of the judging panel, chef Joan Roca, praised the Spaniard’s commitment. “The jury has recognized his significant contributions from a solidarity perspective, as well as his dedication to a cuisine rooted in tradition and essence, making him a deserving recipient of this year’s award,” he said at the announcement in Lima, Peru.

In previous years the Basque Culinary World Prize (BCWP) has recognized chefs, including Leonor Espinosa, Anthony Myint and José Andrés, all chefs who have carved a path for others to follow to continue harnessing the social power of foodservice.

“Gastronomy is a dynamic force that evolves and adapts to new contexts and changing needs. In today’s world, more than ever, we need individuals who, through their talent, work, and above all, their actions, demonstrate how gastronomy can be a powerful tool for social transformation,” concludes Joxe Mari Aizega, director of the Basque Culinary Center. “BCWP, in its 9th edition, continues to shine a light on exemplary cases of positive change and societal impact.”

Tina Nielsen