50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020: apply for your chance to work at Mirazur, Leo and The Test Kitchen

Giulia Sgarbi - 05/11/2019

Applications open today for the third edition of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship, which will see an aspiring chef complete a trio of six-week stages in the kitchens of restaurants Mirazur in France, Leo in Colombia and The Test Kitchen in South Africa in 2020

Calling aspiring cooks all over the world: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants organisation and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) have joined forces to launch a new edition of their scholarship programme for 2020, with the aim to promote emerging culinary talent and nurture the next generation of chefs. Applications are now open for the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020 – determined culinary students over the age of 18, as well as cooks with less than three years’ experience in a professional kitchen, are invited to apply on the Scholarship portal by Friday, 20th December.

The recipient of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020 will be given the chance to take a giant step forward in their culinary education by working in the kitchens of three restaurants in the 50 Best family. Over a period of 18 weeks, the winner will undertake stages (kitchen internships) across Europe, Africa and South America, starting with a six-week experience at Mirazur in Menton, France, the restaurant voted The World’s Best Restaurant 2019, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.

Between June and October 2020, the Scholarship recipient will then travel to Cape Town, South Africa, to work alongside chef Luke Dale-Roberts at The Test Kitchen, which was voted The Best Restaurant in Africa 2019. They will undertake their final stage at Leo in Bogotá, Colombia, where they will be mentored by Latin America’s Best Female Chef 2017 Leonor Espinosa at the only Colombian restaurant voted into the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.

As well as staging at these three titans of the gastronomic universe, the winner of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship will receive complimentary flights and tickets to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 awards ceremony on Tuesday, 2nd June in Antwerp, Flanders, where they will be presented with the Scholarship on stage in front of the world’s culinary leaders and media. The Scholarship covers the costs of flights to the awards and the restaurants for the stages, as well as a £1,500 cash prize to help the winner support themselves over the period. All terms and conditions are outlined on the Scholarship portal.

Andersen Lee, the recipient of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2019, is presented with his prize on stage

For many of the best chefs in the world, staging is essential part of culinary education, allowing them to be mentored by renowned gastronomic personalities and to experience what it is like to work in different kitchens. Mirazur chef-owner Colagreco says: “I have fond memories of all the chefs who allowed me to learn from them. I went through some tough times and I’m forever thankful to those who gave me the chance of a lifetime. Through the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship program, I hope not only to inspire new talents, but also give them the opportunity to believe that all is possible when you put your heart into it.”

The winner of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020 will be selected through a three-stage judging process. Candidates are invited to submit their application online by Friday, 20th December 2019. The next judging stages will involve video submissions and interviews with 50 Best and BBVA representatives, with the input of the three hosting chefs.

The 2019 recipient of the Scholarship was Andersen Lee, a 20-year-old cook from Canada. Lee worked at Odette in Singapore and Core by Clare Smyth in London, and is currently undertaking his final internship at Quintonil in Mexico City. He says: “I would recommend the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship because it’s an excellent opportunity for aspiring cooks to work in world-class restaurants, while also being able to visit different countries across three continents. If I had any advice for future applicants, I would tell them not to be shy and go for it. Take your time, think about your answers, take it seriously and give it your all, but most importantly, surround yourself with individuals who help your creativity flourish.”

The first edition of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship in 2018 saw Taiwanese cook Jessie Liu work alongside chef Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain, and Dominique Crenn at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, US. Liu is now chef de partie at Lyle’s, the London restaurant ranked No.33 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.

Apply now to the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020.

Header images: Chefs Luke Dale-Roberts, Leonor Espinosa and Mauro Colagreco with wife and front of house Julia Colagreco; photos of each chef's restaurants and dishes courtesy of the restaurants

Find out more about Andersen Lee’s experience of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship by reading the articles with his learnings at Odette and Core by Clare Smyth, and stay tuned for the article with his takeaways from Quintonil.

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