Studying Gastronomy, Basque style

Studying Gastronomy, Basque style

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The Basque Culinary Centre aims to ‘guarantee the durability of Basque cuisine as a centre of haute cuisine and innovation in the future.’

Move over France and Italy, Spain has arrived!

Spain's first-ever "gastronomic university" will open its doors in 2011 in the northeastern Basque region, an area known for its high concentration of the nation's best restaurants and for its production of gourmet ingredients.

The Basque Culinary Centre, which will offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in gastronomic science, aims to "guarantee the durability of Basque cuisine as a centre of haute cuisine and innovation in the future," organizers said.

Located in the Basque coastal city of Donostia-San Sebastian and housed in the University of Mondragon, the Centre has drawn the support of many of the region’s top chefs, including Juan Maria Arzak, Eneko Atxa, Martin Berasategui and Pedro Subijana.

Youtube footage
Pedro Subijana (L) and Juan Maria Arzak (R)

Speaking on behalf of the chefs, Subijana described the creation of a centre devoted to gastronomy as an "ancient rite."

“The food movement that is developing in the world means that the Basque Culinary Centre has a reason for being,” he said. “We aspire for people from all over the world to come to Euskadi (the Basque country) and to Donosti (San Sebastian) in particular, to learn everything related to gastronomy.”

Food trends and more

The Centre will feature a Faculty of Culinary Sciences and a Centre for Research and Innovation. It will have four flexible classrooms, kitchens, laboratories and a residence for 120 students. Classes will cover topics ranging from food trends and social responsibility to food education, eating habits and the presentation and storage of food.


The price tag of the project is estimated at 14 million euros (19 million dollars), some of which is being provided by the Ministry of Science and Innovation in Spain and the Basque Government.

Basque restaurant © 22n
              Basque restaurant

The Basque Culinary Centre will be the second such centre of its kind in Europe. In 2004, Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food Movement, founded the University of Gastronomic Science in Bra, Italy. 

Many stars
Photo © Cruccone
The verdant Basque region is home to 22 Michelin-starred restaurants and produces some of Spain's best wines, cheeses, wild mushrooms, fish and other ingredients.

Chefs from the region have played a key role in helping Spanish food to emerge from years in the shadows of the cuisines of neighbouring France and Italy on the world stage.

Photo right: A bar in Donostia/San Sebastián old town, with the local specialities



Jessica Dorrance / AFP / Expatica

Photo credit: Sami Keinänen; 22n; Cruccone


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