La Académie Internationale de la Gastronomie (The International Gastronomy Academy AIG) has announced its annual awards and has presented San Sebastian Gastronomika-Euskadi Basque Country with the Prix Multimédia for the Gastronomika Live format, which provided digital access to an international gastronomy congress for the first time. Gastronomika reinvented itself in October 2020 with a digital proposal of its own that was able to bring together over five days more than 23,000 people from 108 different countries, so that it became the first digital gastronomy congress in the world.
In a context marked by the covid-19 crisis, which not only impacted especially on the event sector but also on the hospitality industry and restaurant and bars, the veteran congress was able to organise dozens of experiences and didactic talks that took place in various TV studios, some of which were located in some of the best restaurants in the Basque Country. Altogether, 50 hours of top-quality audio-visual broadcasting, that managed to raise the expectations of the 'chefs', businessmen, workers and the entire value chain of a thriving activity that the coronavirus brought to a sudden halt, and which, after the event in Guipuzcoa, looked more optimistically towards the future.
The synergy of the 'on-line' and 'off-line' worlds is here to stay and meant a change in the paradigm as it reconsidered the future of congresses and professional connections. This was a more accessible model, enriched by a broad variety of scenarios with a pioneering worldwide format.
Each year these awards recognise the work carried out by chefs, sommeliers, maître d’s, pastry chefs, organisations and media from all over the world devoted to gastronomy. The institution, that comprises 24 gastronomic academies from all over the world, has continued to highlight the work carried out by the great professional figures in the sector this year despite the worldwide pandemic caused by Covid19. In this atypical year, Spanish cuisine has a reason to celebrate, as one of the most important awards presented by the AIG, the Grand Prix de l’Art de la Cuisine, recognises Toño Pérez’s impeccable track record at Atrio in his Aldebarán restaurants. The chef from Extremadura shares the award, jointly, with the Frenchman Guy Savoy, the Italian Antonia Klugman and the Belgian Peter Goossens. This award has only been previously granted to five Spanish chefs: Juan Mari Arzak (1992), Ferran Adrià (1994), Santi Santamaría (1996), Joan Roca (2011) and Ángel León (2019).
Toño Pérez is not the only Spanish name that can be heard at these international awards. The chef Maca de Castro (Maca de Castro Restaurant, Mallorca), has been awarded the Prix Au Chef de l'Avenir, which, among others, Begoña Rodrigo, Kiko Moya, Ángel León, Elena Arzak, David Muñoz or Albert Adrià have received.
The book “Lera” by the chef Luis Alberto Lera, the owner of the restaurant with the same name in Castroverde de Campos (Zamora) published by Montagud Editores, has won the Prix au Littérature Gastronomique. And Jordi Bordás, the founder of the Pastry School that bears his name in Viladecans (Barcelona) and winner of the Pastry World Cup, has received the Prix au Chef Pâtissier.
San Sebastian Gastronomika-Euskadi Basque Country, the doyen of international gastronomic congresses, will be back from the 4th to the 6th of October at the Kursaal and has been adapted to meet the new situation created by the Covid-19 crisis. Its 23rd congress will be looking at France and will propose opening a fresh dialogue between French and Spanish cuisine. It will once again be onsite for congress delegates, although it will have a format that will also allow people to follow the congress from the on-line platform used for the first time in 2020 that makes it possible for anyone who has registered to connect up live from any corner of the world.
So, the San Sebastián congress will be back in its usual setting after the successful experience in October 2020, when it managed to bring some of the most prestigious cuisines on the culinary scene into the homes of thousands of congress delegates from all over the planet through the event’s digital platform. This was a historic congress that was held for the first time over five days and gave a key boost to these kinds of events during the pandemic.