Ebru Baybara Demir has won the Basque Culinary World Prize (BCWP) 2023, often dubbed as the “Nobel Prize of gastronomy”, becoming the first Turkish woman chef to bring the prestigious award to Turkiye, Anadolu Agency reports.
“Ebru Baybara Demir is the BSWP 2023 winner. For her contribution from gastronomy to cultural integration, social development and biodiversity, being involved in initiatives that address from the migratory crisis in the region,” the BCWP, now its 8th edition, said on Twitter.
The global annual award, co-founded by the Basque autonomous government in Spain and the Basque Culinary Centre in 2016, is dedicated to chefs who have led a positive change through gastronomy. The winner gets the chance to allocate €100,000 ($108,000) to an initiative of choice that “expresses the transformative power of gastronomy”.
“Hailing from Turkiye, the country that hosts most Syrian refugees, this great chef uses gastronomy as a tool for integration,” the BCWP said.
“In the many initiatives in which she is part of, Baybara Demir empowers women from both countries and dismantles prejudices by highlighting the richness of the exchange of cultures.”
Baybara Demir is running a soup kitchen in the quake-hit province of Hatay for more than 100 days, supports the agricultural development cooperative, From Soil to Plate, in which volunteers from the region encourage the production and consumption of local grains such as Sorgul, as well as making soaps, jams or handicrafts marketed through online platforms, and is also involved in efforts aimed at the management of biodegradable waste in popular markets in Diyarbakir.
“I am deeply grateful to receive this award, and thank everyone who has been here [Hatay], and who has been with me in every step I have taken … for 25 years,” she said in a video message. “I also extend my gratitude to all of you for recognising my efforts and honouring me with this esteemed award. Thank you!”