Find Us

Vilcek Foundation Awards

Jordan Wright
March 2010

At the award presentation - from left Jose Andres, Spains Ambassador, Varin Keokitvon, Jan and Marica Vilcek - photo by Jordan Wright

A humble Jose Andrés, accepted the Vilcek Prize for the Arts at the residence of His Excellency the Spanish Ambassador, Jorge Dezcallar De Mazarredo and his lovely wife, Marica this Tuesday. Eyes fixed firmly at the soaring ceilings of the elegant Foxhall Road residence throughout his introduction, so moved did he seem by this august award, one could sense that the great chef was not only thanking the culinary gods that have shone powerfully on his brilliant career, but also his family and devoted friends as well.

“It’s been almost 19 years since I came to this country,” he recalled. “I’ve been an immigrant all my life and when I came here I was received with open arms.”

This is the first time The Vilcek Foundation has recognized the culinary arts as pertaining to “the Arts” in general and it was a cultural shift for future art awards from other foundations.

Andrés was credited with bringing Spanish culture to the forefront of American cuisine while pushing the boundaries of food both as a sensory experience and vital component of well-being.

Along with Andres, Laos-born Pastry Chef, Varin Keokitvon, was honored with a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise for his work as a chef/instructor with the Seattle-based FareStart, where he trains homeless and struggling individuals for careers in the culinary arts.

Friends at the awards reception at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador - photo by Jordan Wright

The Vilcek Foundation Prizes, founded by Dr. Jan T. and wife, Marica Vilcek, themselves immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia, were established to honor the contributions of immigrants to the American arts and sciences, and consist of a $50,000 cash prize and an award sculpture. “Our prizewinners are excellent example of how immigrants continue to fuel innovation and enrich our society,” said Dr. Vilcek.

The 2010 Vilcek Prize for the Arts is awarded in the field of Culinary Arts. The prestigious jurors include Chef Dan Barber, former Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine; Ruth Reichl, Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine magazine; Susan Ungaro, James Beard Foundation President; and Maria Guarnaschelli, Vice President and Senior Editor at W. W. Norton & Company.

The evening’s fare was highlighted with tasty tidbits from José Andrés Catering with Ridgewells, his latest venture.

Chef Andrés will be honored at an awards presentation dinner on April 7th, 2010, in New York City, where The Vilcek Foundation is based.

For questions or comments on this story contact [email protected].

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.