The International Academy of Gastronomy has awarded Francis Paniego the Prix du Chef de L’Avenir 2015. An award which recognises his work to date and augurs well for a brilliant future for the chef from El Portal de Echaurren. For the presentation ceremony, Marqués de Riscal wanted to organise a special lunch to pay homage to the chef. It was logical for the chef and the wine cellar to mark their 10-year collaboration in the Group’s monumental hotel in Elciego (Álava), the work of the architect Frank Gehry, where Paniego oversees the work in the kitchens with great success.
For Rafael Ansón, Honorary President of the International Academy of Gastronomy, “Spanish gastronomy is leading the world in innovation and excellence. And Francis Paniego has achieved extraordinary innovation in his cuisine but with its roots in the land and respect for the raw materials and for his legacy. He is a symbol of something which is more and more important: providing continuity to family-run restaurants».
«I am moved to receive this prize which has previously been won by such distinguished colleagues from my country», says Paniego. «And I am particularly pleased that at this time my work is recognised for coming from the deepest tradition. At a time when worldwide there is so much fusion between different types of cuisine and so many influences, recognising tradition in this way seems very bold and I am very grateful for it».
Alejandro Aznar, president of Marqués de Riscal has recognised that «the prize that Francis is receiving today is also an honour for Marqués de Riscal. His food and our wines form a great team which has already enjoyed 10 years of success». Premio Nacional de Gastronomía 2011, Francis Paniego is the best example of Riojan cuisine. He took over the bâton from his mother, Marisa Sánchez, raising tradition to levels where creativity and innovation live together in harmony alongside the great exponents of the local larder and cuisine. His restless ambition has earned him three Repsol suns and two Michelin stars. Paniego celebrated the prize cooking a special menu with his team which showed just how good his food is at the moment. Of course his mother’s famous croquetas were part of it, together with high quality dishes such as baby teardrop peas sautéed with ham, slices of cod, egg yolk and his pil-pil sauce or seasoned and pickled, roast Norway lobster with houseleeks, which perfectly pair with the selection of wines that Marqués de Riscal prepared for the occasion.
The Prix Chef de L’Avenir was first awarded in 1996. It recognises the talent and promise of chefs with a great future, and it has been bestowed on top Spanish chefs such as Martín Berasategui, Sergi Arola, Elena Arzak, Quique Dacosta, Paco Roncero,Dani García, Óscar Velasco, Mario Sandoval, Rodrigo de la Calle, Ramón Freixa, Josean Martínez Alija, Ángel León, Jordi Cruz or David Muñoz, who collected his prize last year.
Once more, the International Academy of Gastronomy has recognised the excellent work of Spanish chefs and confirmed the current success our cuisine is enjoying.
Spain remains at the forefront of international culinary innovation and has become one of the most attractive gastronomic destinations.