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"Gastronomika" in San Sebastián; the World of Top Chefs and Basque Cuisine

The congress took place for the 25th time, bringing together inspiring voices, dedicated producers and connoisseurs from all over the world. Three days for pleasure.

In the past few days, one might have thought that the Milky Way was not up there in the firmament, but down here in San Sebastián, because it was teeming with star chefs. For the 25th time the "Gastronomika" took place; a congress that aims to bring chefs in contact with producers and gourmets from all over the world - and with traditional Basque cuisine.

The history of the "Gastronomika"

"Gastronomika" was first launched in 1999 and has since become one of the most important international platforms for the culinary world. The idea behind it was to bring together chefs from all over the world to share their knowledge, set new trends and inspire the culinary scene. The event takes place every year at the Kursaal Congress Centre and attracts both top chefs and enthusiastic gourmets from all over the world.

The top chefs of "Gastronomika"

Over the years, "Gastronomika" has attracted some of the most famous chefs in the world. One of the most prominent, who regularly attends "Gastronomika", is Juan Mari Arzak. He is considered one of the pioneers of the so-called "Nueva Cocina Vasca", or New Basque Cuisine. His restaurant, Arzak, has been awarded three Michelin stars and is a beacon of culinary innovation in the Basque Country. Another significant participant is his daughter, Elena Arzak, who runs the restaurant together with her father.

Anyone who wanders around the fairgrounds, tasting a sip of wine here, an antique oyster there, or caviar from Gallicia - and listening to the stories of the producers along the way - will gain a deep understanding of what lies behind the word pleasure. Enthusiasm, passion, that's obvious. But above all it is the unconditional will to create something that triggers a resonance in the other person. Indulgence is first and foremost about doing something good for another person. And afterwards, of course, the pride when it succeeds.


Over the years, "Gastronomika" has presented numerous awards to recognise excellence in the world of gastronomy. These honours are not only a sign of recognition, but also help to promote innovation and creativity in the industry.

This year, three careers will be honoured with awards: The "Homage Award" goes to Ferran Adrià, the "Gueridón de Oro" to Jancis Robinson and the "Pau Albornà y Torras" Journalist Award goes to Rafael García Santos.

Importance of Basque cuisine

Basque cuisine, also known as "Euskal Sukaldea", has gained worldwide recognition and developed a unique identity. It features fresh, high-quality ingredients, creative preparation methods and a strong focus on tradition. One of the main ingredients in Basque cuisine is fish, especially cod, which is prepared in many variations. "Bacalao a la Vizcaína", for example, is a famous dish where the cod is served in a tomato bell pepper sauce.

Another highlight of Basque cuisine is the "txokos," private cooking clubs where members gather to cook and eat together. These clubs play an important role in the preservation and development of culinary traditions.

"Gastronomika" plays a crucial role in promoting Basque cuisine on the international stage. It offers chefs the opportunity to showcase their creations to a global audience while absorbing influences from other countries. This exchange has contributed to the development of a modern, innovative interpretation of Basque cuisine.

Overall, the "Gastronomika" in San Sebastian is not only an annual meeting of top chefs and gourmet lovers, but also a platform that contributes to putting Basque cuisine on the culinary world map. The event promotes the cultural importance of Basque gastronomy and shows how tradition and innovation can harmonise in cuisine. With the participation of outstanding chefs and the awarding of prestigious prizes, "Gastronomika" contributes to keeping the culinary world moving and increasing the appreciation of Basque cuisine.

Moritz Hackl