Projects Award Winners

Tiffany Persons, Award Winner 2017

Munich. The jury of the International Eckart Witzigmann Award (ECKART) has announced its next selection: American Tiffany Persons will receive the ECKART 2017 for “Creative Responsibility”. The jury, which includes “chef of the century” Eckart Witzigmann, paid tribute to Persons’ services to education, health and sustainability in the extremely poor Kono region of Sierra Leone. The award will be presented at the ECKART gala hosted by the Witzigmann Academy and the BMW Group at the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris, on 21 Sept. 2017. In 2006, the well-known marketing and music-video director Tiffany Persons travelled to Sierra Leone for the first time to film a documentary. She spent three months living in the rural, diamond-mining mountain town of Kono, where she witnessed the community’s extremely difficult living and working conditions for herself. Impressed by the enthusiasm and cheerfulness of local people in the most adverse of conditions, Persons founded Shine On Sierra Leone (SOSL) in 2007 to raise money for building urgently-needed schools. The organisation has continued to grow ever since: Today, the non-profit SOSL is committed to promoting wider access to education, healthcare, microfinancing and regional culture, and providing sustainable building and agricultural programmes for the communities of Sierra Leone and its people.

“I prefer to use the term ‘partnership’,” says Persons, describing her approach. “We have come a long way from our humble beginnings. Our community and our projects have grown a great deal. We have formed a deep relationship with the people there, based on trust and authenticity. My biggest goal is to involve the people of Sierra Leone in projects with the highest level of integrity that celebrate the beauty of the country.”

Her success speaks for itself: The Muddy Lotus Primary School founded by SOSL, which was built using the revolutionary sustainable earthbag construction method, is one of the best in the country. More than 20,000 people across the country were also able to improve their future prospects by attending computer classes. In just five years, by focusing on microloans for women, the organisation has enabled more than 3,500 female small-business owners to earn their living. SOSL worked with the ecotourism company Tribe Wanted to build an ecovillage, using the CalEarth earthbag method and creating many new jobs. The aim is always to develop sustainable change from within society, instead of relying on outside intervention as an act of charity.


Christine & Michel Guérard, Award Winners 2017

2017 Christine and Michel Guerard receive the ECKART 2017 FOR CULTURE OF LIVING. The BMW Group has awarded the prize with 50,000 €. Michel Guérard thus supports the social integration of young people.

En 2017, Christine et Michel Guérard reçoivent l’ECKART 2017 POUR UN CULTURE DU VIVANT. Le groupe BMW a décerné le prix avec 50 000 €. Michel Guérard soutient ainsi l’intégration sociale des jeunes.


Mariá Marte & Luisa Orlando, Award Winner 2017

Sustainability engagement for Dominican Republic

The research project about two plants in danger of extinction in Dominican Republic leaded by Maria Marte and Luisa Orlando from El Club Allard with the purpose to promote their use in Dominican households and to impulse their cultivation and commercialization .

The project will take place in the Dominican Republic. We will work for it with Escuela Serrania Hostelerea de Indesco:

This school is addressed to Dominican women with special attention to young people with limited resources and living in real zones. The purpose is to contribute to the country’s progress by promoting human, social and technical development of countrified women, giving them the possibility to work in the area of hostelry and tourism.

The project will also finance the studies of two girls in this school of culinary and hospitality skills that will work with Mariá and Luisa in the development of the project as part of their scholarship. The project will consist in the selection of two plants in danger of extinction. One of them will an aromatic plant with gastronomic uses and the other will be a medical dewormed plant for children to avoid intestinal diseases that they terribly suffer in Dominican Republic.

Mariá Marte and El Club Allard would develop, with these two students, the recipes. Later they would colaborate with supermarkets and schools for his diffusion and commercialization to maximize sales.

“The project will have benefits in many levels. First we will reactivate the sales and production of two plants in danger of extinction likewise we would help the children that can be cured from his disease in a natural way. Also we would give a scholarship to two students of Escuela de Serrania  giving them the opportunity to curse their students and to be a part of this project.”

The project may also have a secondary impact of the knowledge of Escuela Serrania and therefore to receive more social helps for the school.


Isabelle & Marc Haeberlin, Award Winner 2004

‘ÉPICE’, a project by Isabelle & Marc Haeberlin

In 2017, Isabelle and Marc Haeberlin received the alumni ECKART 2018 for their project ÉPICE in Mühlhausen. The idea: Integration through cooking. The BMW Group has awarded the prize with € 50,000. The film shows how the Haeberlin family has invested the prize money.

Witzigmann ACADEMY et BMW Group présents : En 2017 Isabelle et Marc Haeberlin recevront les anciens élèves ECKART 2018 pour leur projet ÉPICES à Mühlhausen. Leur idée : l’intégration par la cuisine. Le groupe BMW a décerné le prix avec 50 000 €. Le film montre comment la famille Haeberlin, qui a reçu le prix ECKART POUR LE GRAND ART CULINAIRE en 2004, a investi l’argent du prix.


Claus Meyer, Award Winner 2015

New York City. Claus Meyer, co-founder of the New Nordic Cuisine and the world-famous Noma restaurant, won the ECKART 2015 for “Creative Responsibility and Enjoyment”, partly in recognition of his social commitment in Bolivia. Meyer has since shifted the focus of his activities to New York. The cash award of 10,000 euros endowed by the BMW Group for the ECKART 2015 is now benefiting Meyer’s new project in the disadvantaged neighbourhood of Brownsville in New York City. A delegation from the Witzigmann Academy visited the location to learn more about the social project.

Meyer has initiated a food project for the local population of Brownsville in the borough of Brooklyn, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the global metropolis of New York. The project currently employs a staff of ten, although this number is set to increase to between 70 and 80 over the coming months. Meyer is following two objectives: First, to earn greater recognition for the local cuisine and give it a stronger identity. Second, to give young people from this disadvantaged community the chance to gain a foothold in the restaurant industry through top-class training and help improve their prospects.

“I hope we will be able to train 40 to 50 students here every year,” says Meyer, “helping them embark on a wonderful career that can lead their families out of poverty. I also hope that the people of Brownsville will accept this project – even grow to love it – and embrace it as their own.”

Brownsville, with a high percentage of immigrants from the Caribbean, used to have its own food culture defined by people’s roots. This “soul food” originally referred to the cuisine of the southern United States. What started out as “poor folks’ food” gained recognition in the 1960s through the civil rights movement, with many foods, such as spareribs and chicken wings, since becoming staples of American cuisine.

Working with his students, Meyer is building on this dying Brownsville tradition to leverage potential for changing today’s predominantly fast-food culture. Meyer’s cross-generational approach is particularly exciting, as he explained when the Witzigmann Academy visited in early September: “We are involving older generations in our project by asking them about Brownsville’s culinary roots.”
A film of the Witzigmann Academy visit will be released in October. Excerpts will be shown at the ECKART 2016 award ceremony in Munich, where Claus Meyer will report on his project.


Jon Rose, Award Winner 2014

Jon Rose:’Clean water for everyone”, ” Water is the new oil” 

Munich/Bohol (Philippines). “Clean water for everyone who needs it” – the mission of Jon Rose and his Waves4Water (W4W) organisation is beguilingly simple. In October 2014, surfing legend Rose was presented with the ECKART 2014 for Creative Responsibility and Enjoyment at the BMW Museum in Munich. The prize is endowed by the BMW Group with a grant of 10,000 euros, which Rose is using for an assistance intervention in the Philippines. This summer he was visited by a delegation from the Witzigmann Academy. In June 2015, Theresa Geisel and Lejla Beganovic travelled to the Philippine island of Bohol on behalf of the Witzigmann Academy to visit surfing legend Jon Rose. Here, Rose and his Waves4Water (W4W) organisation are helping provide locals affected by earthquake and typhoons with clean drinking water. Jon Rose talks about his mission, how the prize money is being used and how the project works.

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Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) and Chris de Margary, Award Winner 2014

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Alex Atala, Award Winner 2013

Good cooking also includes the word ‘no’

The winner of the ECKART 2013 for Creative Responsibility and Enjoyment, Brazilian star chef Alex Atala, gives information about the activities of his “Instituto ATÀ”.

Munich. August 2014. Last year, the WITZIGMANN ACADEMY presented its ECKART 2013 for Creative Responsibility and Enjoyment to Brazilian star chef Alex Atala. The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros by the BMW Group. In May we met up with Alex Atala in Sao Paulo and talked to him about his approach to cooking and his social commitment. We also wanted to hear what he had done with his prize money.

Please find further information under:
 www.institutoata.org.br/en

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