Fourth-generation Spanish chef Elena Arzak, who heads one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, Arzak, will receive the award for Best Female Chef at this year’s edition of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.
Last year, Arzak watched as her father Juan Mari Arzak stepped up to the stage to receive a lifetime achievement award for his long and storied career. The elder Arzak is known as the father of New Basque Cuisine and was playing with fire — and liquid nitrogen — long before the likes of chefs Ferran Adrià or Grant Achatz.
Elena was also nominated in the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef in its maiden launch last year but lost to France’s Anne-Sophie Pic.
Arzak comes from a long line of kitchen matriarchs, a line that included her mother, grandmother and aunt. She trained under classical chefs like Alain Ducasse and Adrià but returned to her family’s Basque restaurant, where she works alongside her father in a kitchen that straddles modernism and tradition.
For the past five years, Arzak has been consistently ranked one of the top 10 restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Last year, it rose one spot to eighth position. It was also the first Basque restaurant to earn all three Michelin stars.
In a bio for the chef, Elena’s cuisine is described as cutting-edge, research-based and experimental with flavors.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants takes place April 30 in London.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.