Supporting the next generation of chefs.
In 2019, I had the opportunity to help launch the Diplomado de Cocina Creativa, a training program for youngsters in the Dominican Republic to learn about creative cooking hosted by the INFOTEP School of Hospitality, Gastronomy, and Pastry.
Over the course of three months, this program sent 20 young people, passionate about gastronomy, across the country to bolster their cooking skills and expand their knowledge. At the end, one student was chosen for his outstanding performance.
Through his passion and hard work, Elvis Hidalgo, a 25 year old from San Francisco de Macorís, earned a scholarship for a 5-week training course at the world-renowned Basque Culinary Center (BCC) in Spain. There, Elvis will have the opportunity to continue his education under some of the best chefs in the world.
The Basque region is a food mecca — it currently boasts the world’s highest number of Michelin stars per capita. Basque cuisine is so highly respected in part because, while other regions in Europe have been heavily influenced by other cultures, this style has stayed true to its roots. It has also served as the inspiration for many beloved dishes and restaurants around the world. Pinxtos, for example, which are often compared to tapas, have taken on a life of their own.
The BCC was founded more than a decade ago by a group of prominent Basque chefs as a training, research, and innovation project aimed at developing the culinary sector. The group sought to not only teach cooking but also management, science, and other disciplines. Today, it’s board and International Council are still composed of distinguished chefs, including Martin Berasategui, Pedro Subijana, Ferrán Adriá, and Massimo Bottura.
While Elvis had intended to begin his training in May of 2020, it had to be postponed due to COVID. However, I am thrilled to report that, just over a year later, Elvis has arrived in Basque to begin his courses.
And I can’t wait to see what he cooks up. Congratulations, Elvis!
Danilo Diazgranados is an investor, collector, and lover of fine wines and a member of the prestigious Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a fraternity of Burgundy wine enthusiasts.