Friends of ECKART #4: The visionary – Günter Seeger

Günter Seeger, who grew up in the Black Forest, lives in the USA for decades. He is one of the pioneers of the Greenmarket movement. Without his support greenmarkets would not be as important as they are today. In his recently opened restaurant “Günter Seeger New York” he brings their best products to the plate. He uses his sophisticated culinary art to help the products achieve their optimum taste. Günter Seeger is a visionary who realizes his idea of quality and taste virtuously and without compromise.

ECKART 2018 for Innovation goes to Astrid Gutsche and Gastón Acurio

The BMW Group and the ECKART Academy honour a Peruvian couple that has revolutionised the culinary world with traditional regional recipes and a sense of environmental and ethical responsibility. Eckart Witzigmann: “Having the courage to challenge haute cuisine with local cooking styles: That is innovation.”

Munich. The jury of the international Eckart Witzigmann Award (ECKART) hasannounced another winner for this year’s award ceremony: The ECKART 2018 for“Innovation” goes to Astrid Gutsche and Gastón Acurio. The award will be presented at the ECKART Gala in New York in June.

“Astrid Gutsche and Gastón Acurio are no ordinary restaurateurs: By boldly challenging haute cuisine with local ingredients and recipes, the husband-and-wife team are revolutionising the culinary world of an entire country. Gastón Acurio focuses on the fundamental values of cooking: quality, creativity and regionality. His social commitment, which aims to use culinary creations to develop his country into a brand and lead it to prosperity, merits the award for the ‘Innovation’,” explainedEckart Witzigmann, announcing the jury’s decision.

The success story began in 1994 with the opening of the couple’s first restaurant in Lima. “Astrid y Gastón” served French cuisine bearing the signature of chef Gastón Acurio, who, at that time, regarded haute cuisine as the measure of all things – until his wife, Astrid, reacquainted him with the treasures of local cooking and changedher partner’s thinking. Ultimately, Acurio not only introduced haute cuisine to Peru, but also brought the culinary diversity of Peru to award-winning dining. Since 1999, when his wife opened his eyes to local cooking styles, Acurio has embraced his native culture and experimented with local ingredients to create his own recipe for success. Since then, both have sought out interesting new products for original and creative dishes that have been exported from distant Peru and brought its flavours to the world. Astrid Gutsche and Gastón Acurio launched a gastro-cultural revolution that has fundamentally changed Peru.

Today, the couple presides over the kitchen at the Casa Moreyra in Lima, an impressive 18th century San Isidro residence, which “Astrid y Gastón” moved to in2014. They now own 50 restaurants and businesses worldwide.

As entrepreneurs, Astrid Gutsche and Gastón Acurio recognised their social and environmental responsibility at an early stage: In 2007, they opened Peru’s firstsubsidized culinary school with low, almost symbolic, fees in a low-income, humble district of Lima to provide up-and-coming chefs from the area with an opportunity for professional success. The use of regional products in their exceptional dishes shows a deep understanding of sustainability and not only sends a strong signal for Peru, but also for responsible use of resources at global level.

The ECKART

Partners since 2012, the BMW Group and the ECKART Academy jointly present theEckart Witzigmann Award for outstanding achievements in the categories: “Art of Cookery”, “Innovation”, “Art of Living” and “Creative Responsibility”. The partnershipis 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 internationalculinary award. In 2018, the award will take another step towards becoming more international, with the presentation of the ECKART 2018 at an official ceremony in New York.

ECKART 2018 for Creative Responsibility goes to New York’s Union Square Greenmarket

Fresh, regional, authentic: The Union Square Greenmarket has connected the steel and concrete heart of New York City to nature and helped promote sustainable, healthy eating and regional products for years.

Munich. The jury of the international Eckart Witzigmann Award (ECKART) has announced its second selection for this year’s award ceremony: The ECKART 2018 for“Creative Responsibility” goes to the Union Square Greenmarket in New York –recognising its outstanding services to regional and responsible nutrition in the very city where the award will be presented at the ECKART Gala in June 2018.

“The Union Square Greenmarket was one of the first pioneers. The message it sent has since become a global trend: A closeness to nature and its products is increasingly finding a place in cities,” explained Eckart Witzigmann, announcing the jury’s decision. “For almost two generations, the market has sold fresh, healthy food grown by local farmers, in the heart of New York City. Since the beginning, it has been committed to selling in-season products from across the region – which is exactly what the ECKART stands for.”


The Union Square Greenmarket is part of the GrowNYC initiative, which provides sustainable resources in New York City. Various markets across the city – referred to as “greenmarkets” – offer fresh, untreated products grown by the region’s farmers. The market on Union Square was the first of its kind and boldly turned away from the American fast-food mainstream as early as 1976. Today, the market can be classed as a trendsetter and food consciousness has established itself as part of modern cooking. The award recognises Union Square Greenmarket’s mission of giving regional agriculture and more than one hundred small famers from the surrounding areas the chance to sell high-quality food products directly to customers. The aim of making healthy nutrition accessible to all New Yorkers was also praised by the

The BMW Group is also aware of its social and environmental responsibility and offers employees in Munich meals made from in-season products from across the region as part of the NAHtürlich project. “The trend towards a more seasonal and regional focus plays an increasing role in society. At the BMW Group, we think a great deal about how we can integrate sustainably produced food into our everyday lives and support responsible cultivation of regional products,” explains Dr. Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Finance, and patron of the ECKART. The pilot project was launched in 2016 with the support of the ECKART Academy – and has proved a resounding success: NAHtürlich meals are now available at four locations in Munich.

The ECKART

Partners since 2012, the BMW Group and the ECKART Academy jointly present the Eckart Witzigmann Award for outstanding achievements in the categories: “Art of Cookery”, “Innovation”, “Art of Living” and “Creative Responsibility”. The partnershipis 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 internationalculinary award. In 2018, the award will take another step towards becoming more international, with the presentation of the ECKART 2018 at an official ceremony in New York.