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USA’s Thomas Keller and Spain’s Elena Arzák honoured at S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Awards 2012


thomas keller - ThomasKeller_Portrait_by_blue_door_full.jpgHeavyweight chefs Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se) and Elena Arzák (Arzák) will receive prestigious gongs at the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best awards on 30 April.

Keller (pictured, left) has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the world gastronomic scene, most notably with The French Laundry, which championed local ingredients years ahead of the pack. It has been included in the World’s 50 Best list since the awards started, and was voted number one in 2003 and 2004.

The chef, whose 10-day pop-up restaurant at Harrods sold out last year, was chosen not only for his technical skills and culinary vision, but for his influence on other chefs, who admire his humble nature and commitment to perfection, said the judges.

Keller said: ‘I am extremely honoured to receive this award, but what I am most excited about is celebrating with my friends and colleagues after the event! We’ve inspired each other through the years – we are all in this together.’

elena arzak 2012 - Elena-Arzak.jpgMeanwhile, Arzák (pictured, right), who runs the San Sebastián restaurant of the same name along with her father Juan Mari, has won the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef award for her work at the cutting-edge restaurant.

The fourth generation of her family to head up the restaurant since it opened in 1897, Arzák learned how to cook from her father, but completed placements in some of Europe’s greatest kitchens (including Le Gavroche and el Bulli) before committing full-time to the family business. Her partnership with her father has seen the restaurant – the first Basque restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars – remain consistently great (it is currently ranked number 8 on the World’s 50 Best list).

Arzák was commended by the judging panel for her passionate commitment to the restaurant and the kitchen’s innovation and creativity on the plate.

Arzák said, ‘I am happy for Arzák, the restaurant, my father and my family. I remember when my grandmother was cooking and how much of an inspiration she was. With this title, I think of her even more.’

Last year, Elena’s father Juan Mari Arzák won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World’s 50 Best ceremony.

This feature was published on 26 April 2012.

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