Dominique Crenn and Andoni Luis Aduriz to host winner of first 50 Best BBVA Scholarship

Giulia Sgarbi - 04/01/2018

Header images, clockwise from top left: Andoni Luis Aduriz (image: Alex Iturralde); pates de fruits; sea urchin; Dominique Crenn (image: Mika Takeuchi); lacquered sole and butter; From bitter to sweet

Atelier Crenn chef-owner Dominique Crenn and Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz will host the first ever winner of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship. A partnership between The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), the scholarship provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an aspiring chef to gain experience at two of the best restaurants in the world – and to attend The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 awards ceremony in Bilbao.

Launched today with entries open until 5th February, the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship is a new kind of prize with the aim of nurturing talent. Open to aspiring chefs anywhere in the world, the scholarship will be awarded on stage at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in Bilbao, Spain, in June 2018 in front of the world’s leading chefs and international media. The first recipient will then undertake two internships, or stages, firstly at Mugaritz near San Sebastian, Spain, then at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, USA.

The 50 Best BBVA Scholarship is open to chefs over the age of 18 with less than three years’ experience in a professional kitchen, including culinary students. Chefs Crenn and Aduriz will be involved in the three-stage judging process to select the winner. The 50 Best team and BBVA representatives will also provide input into the selection.

Entries are open now on the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship portal and the first stage of the selection process will close on February 5th. The winner will be announced in April and the restaurant stages will take place from the end of June until the end of September 2018. The full list of terms and conditions can be found on the entry website.

Mugaritz's kitchen (image: Oscar Oliva)

Staging is considered a fundamental part of the process of becoming a chef, with many of the world’s most successful cooks having completed several. Chef Aduriz of Mugaritz, No.9 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, spent almost four years doing stages in different restaurants, including El Bulli, where he interned for a year before being offered a full-time job.

“Nowadays, people can go to excellent culinary schools, but they’re really expensive,” says Aduriz. “What happens when, like in my case, your parents can’t afford to pay for your education? I couldn’t access the knowledge I was hungry for. Sometimes you need for those doors to be opened in other ways. That’s why initiatives like the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship are important, because they help democratise the idea that we need to support talent regardless of the resources they have access to. If you’re working to create a different world, you need to open new roads for those who want to do the same.”

For many chefs, mentoring aspiring professionals is as important as cooking. Crenn, who won the title of The World’s Best Female Chef in 2016, said: “I always hope that those that work with me learn a lot and take away something positive. I want to inspire them, but I am also very much inspired by them. It's very humbling to be given a chance to take someone under your wing and mentor them. I think six weeks can give a stagiaire a window into Atelier Crenn and I hope that we can help them on their journey through life.”

Apply now to the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship

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