ECKART 2017: BMW Group and Eckart Witzigmann Academy step up cooperation. Renowned culinary award launches world tour in Paris 

Munich. The BMW Group and “chef of the century” Eckart Witzigmann are strengthening their joint commitment to the culinary arts, nutrition and social responsibility. At the same time, they are sharpening the focus of the International Eckart Witzigmann Award, ECKART for short, in their fifth year of collaboration. The award will become more global in its efforts to create an international stage for sustainability, quality and responsible nutrition. Award ceremonies will also be held outside of Germany in the future, starting in France: The ECKART 2017 will be presented in the country that invented haute cuisine.

The fifth year of cooperation also marks a transition: Dr. Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Finance, takes over as patron of the cooperation from his predecessor in the Board of Management, Dr. Friedrich Eichiner. Eichiner, with considerable personal commitment, had moulded the cooperation since 2012.

“I am impressed by the partnership and collaboration with the Witzigmann Academy. Together, we can encourage public debate about conscious nutrition and responsibility towards people, animals and the planet,” said Peter. “These are very important matters for the BMW Group, and for me, personally. It is an honour to take over the patronage of ECKART from my esteemed predecessor.”

France was an obvious choice for the first stop on the ECKART world tour: French cuisine sets the international standard, and food and drink occupy an important place in its culture. It is no coincidence that many ECKART award-winners are from France, including the Troisgros Family, Anne-Sophie Pic and Tomi Ungerer. Outside the culinary world, a special friendship has always existed between Germany and France. France is also very important to the BMW Group. BMW France is an integral part of the BMW Group’s international network and France was the fifth-largest market for new car sales in 2016.

France also has its very special importance to Eckart Witzigmann: “I had the privilege to learn from luminaries like Paul Haeberlin to Paul Bocuse the essentials of their art. These leading figures of the French cuisine nurtured my creativity and style.”

The ECKART 2017 award ceremony in autumn 2017 marks the first step in the further internationalisation of the award, with other stops around the world to follow. Next year already, the ECKART 2018 will be presented outside of Europe.

ECKART and the BMW Group 
The International Eckart Witzigmann Award is one of the most prestigious honours recognising outstanding achievements in the art of cooking and fine dining. “Chef of the century” Eckart Witzigmann has awarded the ECKART for unique culinary achievements and special commitment under the broad spectrum of lifestyle since 2004. In partnership with the BMW Group, the Witzigmann Academy presents awards annually in the categories: “Art of Cookery”, “Innovation” and “Art of Living”. The Academy has also presented an ECKART for “Creative Responsibility and Enjoyment” since 2013, with a cash award of 10,000 euros endowed by the BMW Group.

Previous 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; and many more.

Sustainability has been an integral part of the BMW Group’s corporate strategy for many years, with sustainable development firmly established as a corporate target at Group level: from the development of alternative, fuel-saving vehicle concepts through environmentally-compatible production processes to eco-friendly recycling methods. At the BMW Group, sustainable thinking and action influences not only the product, but the entire value chain. In all areas of the company, the focus is on meaningful and responsible use of energy and raw materials.