Enrique Olvera at the New York awards ceremony

Enrique Olvera gets Global Gastronomy Award

The Mexican chef was honoured at a gala reception at the Swedish Consul General’s house in New York this week

We like to think we pick up on influential chefs and gastronomic trends early, but it's always nice to have our hunches confirmed by other culinary arbiters. Yesterday the chef and Phaidon author Enrique Olvera attended a gala reception at the Consul General of Sweden’s official residence in New York to receive a Global Gastronomy Award.

The prize is awarded annually by Sweden’s revered White Guide to a chef whose “work has deeply impacted how we think about food, gastronomy and hospitality.”

The White Guide’s judges singled out Olvera for the way he “successively redefines and elevates this ancient and rustic cooking into contemporary gastronomy, with full respect for its roots and unique qualities,” explains the award citation. “With a little tweaking from the inspired hands of Chef Olvera the legacy of Mexican cooking plays out in new and sometimes unexpected ways.”

That's fine praise, and also a fair description of Olvera's recent Phaidon book, Mexico from the Inside Out.

Lara Gilmore with Food for Soul project manager Cristina Reni
Lara Gilmore with Food for Soul project manager Cristina Reni

And Olvera wasn’t the only Phaidon winner on the night; Massimo Bottura’s wife Lara Gilmore received the Post Plate Award, which “honors efforts to reduce waste and other by-products of food consumption, especially within the hospitality sector.”

Gilmore collected the prize on behalf of Food for Soul, the philanthropic body which runs Refettorio Ambrosiano, the haute cuisine soup kitchens she co-founded with her husband, which calls on elite chefs to help repurpose trash-bound ingredients into healthy meals for the poor.

You can find out more about that scheme, and try recipes by Bottura, René Redzepi, Daniel Humm and others, in our new book Bread is Gold. Meanwhile, for more on the way Olvera reinvented Mexican cuisine, order a copy of his book, Mexico From the Inside Out.