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The BMW Group and the ECKART Academy honour a self-taught chef who not only knows his craft, but also where his ingredients come from – since they grow right next door to his Napa Valley restaurant. Christopher Kostow combines culinary ingenuity with a green thumb to create regional cuisine of the highest order.

Munich, Germany- June 5, 2018… The jury of the international Eckart Witzigmann Award (ECKART) has made its final selection for this year’s award ceremony: The ECKART 2018 for “Art of Cookery” goes to Christopher Kostow. The award, which recognises sustainable enjoyment and social responsibility, will be presented at the ECKART Gala in New York in just a few days.

“The art of cookery is naturally about taste – but outstanding food is more than that. Christopher Kostow proves that award-winning cuisine goes beyond creating exciting dishes and harmonious combinations of ingredients. The art of cookery is about responsibility: Kostow demonstrates his social commitment by promoting cultivation of regional products and researching and verifying the origins of the ingredients he uses very thoroughly,” explained Eckart Witzigmann, announcing the jury’s decision.

Surrounded by vineyards, the Meadowood Resort lies in the heart of Napa Valley, California’s best-known wine region. At “The Restaurant at Meadowood”, Christopher Kostow has already accomplished something in the early stages of his career that many chefs never achieve: The philosophy graduate is the third-youngest chef, and only the second from the United States, to be awarded three Michelin stars. Kostow’s cuisine has earned Meadowood an impressive list of awards that all prove that he is a master of his craft, which is also self-taught. But what makes the award-winning chef so special is not the number of accolades he has won, but the reason for winning them: Kostow cooks in a thoughtful manner, takes great care with products and only chooses the very best for his outstanding dishes. As a result, traditional combinations meet culinary invention, realised with regional products from Napa Valley, as well as seasonal ingredients grown in the resort’s own garden and picked by hand. Kostow’s work is enriched by his never-ending curiosity, constantly changing menu and creations that capture the charm of Napa Valley.

When Kostow is not in the kitchen, he can be found in the Meadowood’s neighbouring garden, which provides the restaurant with fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. Kostow knows exactly where his ingredients come from – which is just as important to him as how they taste. His recipes are not created on a whim, but consider what is in season and can be harvested from the garden. The menu is completed and complemented by the best wines from Napa Valley. The Meadowood vegetable garden, which is tended by six gardeners and worthy of categorisation as a farm, is also part of the local Montessori school, where pupils learn about the traditional cycle “from producer to consumer”. Kostow not only demonstrates his culinary talent, but also shows a willingness to take environmental and social responsibility. His many awards do not appear to distract Kostow from what matters most to him: the ingredients.

Partners since 2012, the BMW Group and the Witzigmann Academy jointly present the Eckart Witzigmann Award for outstanding achievements in the categories: “Art of Cookery”, “Innovation”, “Art of Living” and “Creative Responsibility”. The partnership is based on the joint aim of creating an international platform for healthy eating, sustainable cuisine and responsible use of resources. The total endowment of €250,000 reflects the prestige and importance of the ECKART as a top international culinary award. The endowment in the name of the BMW Group is designed to support social and sustainable projects proposed by the award-winners. In this way, the BMW Group aims to send a signal with the ECKART and take responsibility. Previous award-winners include Daniel Boulud, HRH Charles Prince of Wales, Elena Arzak, Anne-Sophie Pic, Harald Wohlfahrt, Dieter Kosslick, Ferran Adrià, Marc Haeberlin, Joël Robuchon, Alex Atala, Jon Rose, Mick Hucknall, Massimo Bottura, Dominique Crenn, Andreas Caminada, Tiffany Persons, María Marte, Alain Ducasse and many others.

The ECKART 2018 award winners
Christopher Kostow
Napa Valley, USA. ECKART 2018 for Art of Cookery.

Astrid Gutsche and Gastón Acurio
Lima, Peru. ECKART 2018 for Innovation.

Suzanne Cupps and Danny Meyer
New York City, USA. ECKART 2018 for Culture of Living.

Union Square Green Market
New York City, USA. ECKART 2018 for Creative Responsibility.