The World's 50 Best Restaurants has recently revealed the winner of this year's Icon Award as Andoni Luis Aduriz, the chef behind Mugaritz restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain. The Icon Award celebrates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the food world that is worthy of international recognition, and who has used their platform to raise awareness and drive positive change in the industry.
Aduriz has focused not only on culinary evolution, but on a creative, innovative and interdisciplinary approach to gastronomy. Starting his path with an after-school job in a pizzeria, Aduriz went on to work at Spain's prestigious El Bulli in 1993 before setting off alone to open Mugaritz in 1998. The restaurant has been ranked in The World's 50 Best Restaurants list every year since 2005.
Aduriz is named the recipient of this year's Icon Award for his tireless work towards a socially and environmentally committed gastronomy industry. He has also been fearless in challenging long-standing culinary mores, eschewing industry dogma in favour of exploration and experimentation through food, and going as far as to question whether dishes even need to be 'delicious' to be valuable.
Speaking about receiving the award, Aduriz said: "Being recognised with such a reverential term as 'icon' is both overwhelming and surprising, but it does not hide the illusion of knowing that, deep down, what is being rewarded is a trajectory – an effort to open up new paths. I think this award is shared with all the people who dream that things can be different, who are in that sea of doubt, and who need references from people who have also ventured down a different path without being certain that it will turn out well. I am eternally grateful, not only for myself and my team, but also for the message we are sending to the younger generations."