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The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and BBVA launch 2020 Scholarship programme for aspiring chefs

Aspiring chefs from all around the world are encouraged to apply and compete for a chance to work at three of the best restaurants in the world with the launch of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020, organised by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants with the support of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA). Entries are now open for the initiative, which is in its third year.


The annual scholarship scheme identifies talented aspiring chefs and seeks to develop their potential with the aid of internships or ‘stages in the kitchens of some of the world’s leading restaurants. The recipient of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020 will be invited to work at the following top-tier establishments:

  • Mirazur in Menton, France, crowned No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, led by chef Mauro Colagreco
  • The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, South Africa, named The Best Restaurant in Africa 2019, led by chef Luke Dale-Roberts
  • Leo in Bogotá, Colombia, led by chef Leonor Espinosa, who was voted Latin America’s Best Female Chef 2018

The stages will take place between June and November 2020. The successful entrant will be invited to attend The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 awards ceremony on the 2nd of June in the city of Antwerp, where he or she will have the honour of appearing on stage in front of the world’s leading chefs and media to receive the Scholarship.

Aspiring chefs with less than three years’ experience in a professional kitchen, as well as determined culinary students, are invited to apply online here. The scholarship is open to individuals aged 18 and over from any part of the world.

The first stage of the application process will be open until the 20th of December 2019. The full judging process, divided into three stages, will be overseen by the 50 Best team with input from host chefs Mauro Colagreco, Luke Dale-Roberts and Leonor Espinosa, as well as representatives of BBVA. Full details of the terms and conditions of entry are outlined on the scholarship entry website.

Andersen Lee, 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2019 winner - 50 Best

Andersen Lee, a 20-year-old Canadian cook, was the 2019 recipient of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship. He spent five months undertaking internships at Odette in Singapore, Core by Clare Smyth in London, and Quintonil in Mexico City. Lee said: “I would recommend the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship because it is an excellent opportunity for aspiring cooks to work in world-class restaurants, while also being able to visit different countries across three continents. If I had any advice for future applicants, I would tell them not to be shy and go for it. Take your time, think about your answers, take it seriously and give it your all, but most importantly, surround yourself with individuals who help your creativity flourish.”

The inaugural 50 Best BBVA Scholarship winner in 2018 was Jessie Liu from Taiwan, who went on to stage at Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain, and Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, USA. She is now chef de partie at Lyle’s, James Lowe’s restaurant in London ranked No.33 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.

Mauro Colagreco, chef-owner of Mirazur in Menton, France, said: “I have fond memories of all the chefs who allowed me to learn from them. I went through some tough times and I am forever thankful to those who gave me the chance of a lifetime. Through the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship program, I hope not only to inspire new talents, but also give them the opportunity to believe that all is possible when you put your heart into it.”

William Drew, Director of Content of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “We are delighted to continue advocating for the professional growth of the next generation of notable chefs with the third edition of the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship. The Scholarship gives an individual the chance to cook alongside some of the most talented chefs in the world and gain unprecedented experience. The global support this initiative has produced is appreciated, and we would like to extend a special thank you to the host restaurants for offering to welcome the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship winner in 2020.”

Óscar Moya, BBVA Global Head of Marketing, said: “The third year of the program consolidates one of the most comprehensive scholarships currently offered to aspiring chefs. Mauro Colagreco, Luke Dale-Roberts and Leonor Espinosa are three great role models for students. We are thrilled to continue creating opportunities for young people who will soon hold top positions in the 50 Best lists.”

The first stage of applications for the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship 2020 will be open until 20th December 2019. Entrants should apply online on the applications website here.