These annual awards recognize the excellence in the different categories of several professionals and organizations linked to the local gastronomy
The Gastronomy Academy of the Valencian Region (AGCV) has presented its annual awards today and the Valencian chef Vicky Sevilla, owner of Arrels restaurant, has won the award for Best Chef of the Year 2023. An award that she received with great emotion from the hands of the President of the Region of Valencia, Carlos Mazón Guixot and the chef Quique Dacosta. The event held in Valencia, at the Hotel Balneario Las Arenas in Valencia, has recognized the excellence in the different categories of different professionals and organizations linked to the local gastronomy.
Receiving this award in her homeland and by the local gastronomic industry is a matter of great joy for Vicky. She defends her place of origin both in her cuisine at Arrels and wherever she travels on her many trips to take part in international gastronomic events. “The support of my people, of my community, is essential for me. I decided to create my life project here and there is not a single day when I don’t feel lucky to had born and grown up here, and to be able to develop my career in my homeland”, says Vicky with emotion.
But this is not the first time that Vicky receives the support of the gastronomy of her region, as in 2018, and only a year after opening Arrels, she received the “Young promise of the Valencian Community” Award.
However, in the last few years, the international gastronomic world has also been paying attention to her. Last year, she was recognized by the prestigious list La Liste Mediterranean with the award “New Talent of the Year” which recognizes the talent of young chefs based in the countries around the Mediterranean who are carrying out outstanding work. This recognition has an exceptional meaning for her, as it is linked to her roots and her Mediterranean Sea, which is very present in her cuisine. Another example of the interest that her work arouses in the international gastronomic scene is the fact that she was chosen to host at Arrels one of the “Signature dinners” that took place during the celebration of the annual gala of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants that took place in Valencia.
Vicky decided to open her restaurant, Arrels, at the age of 25, and to do it alone in Sagunto, in an idyllic location full of history, the stables of the historic palace of the Dukes of Gaeta, which dates to the 16th century. Her perseverance and dedication soon began to bear fruit, and a few years later, when she was 28, she was a finalist for “Cocinero Revelación” (Best New Chef) at Madrid Fusion, and just one year later, at 29, she became the youngest woman to receive a MICHELIN star in Spain. Since then, she has won several awards, which indicates that she is a tireless worker.
Vicky’s cuisine is deeply rooted in her territory, where the Mediterranean Sea and the Valencian countryside are the main protagonists. She uses the ingredients of her surroundings, respecting their seasonal nature and making the most of the best at each time of the year. But she also makes the most of everything because she tries to use every part of the ingredients that reach her kitchen to avoid food waste, which is becoming a burden for our society today. The indelible and unbreakable bond that Vicky has with her land and its traditions are one of the hallmarks of her work, where memory also plays a fundamental role, inviting those who taste her cuisine to “eat” their memories.
She is currently immersed in the study and development of different pickled recipes, an ancient technique that fascinates her and with which she declares herself to be “in love”. Just a few weeks ago she returned to Madrid Fusión, but this time as a speaker on the main stage talking about this technique that she uses regularly in her restaurant in both savoury and sweet dishes.
The Gastronomy Academy of the Valencian Region (AGCV) was founded in 2004 as a non-profit organization, and since then, it has worked to promote and give visibility to the region’s gastronomy. It is currently headed by Belén Arias and is made up of 42 academics. The event held this morning was attended by, in addition to the President of the Region of Valencia, Carlos Mazón Guixot, others as the Councillor for Tourism, Industry, Innovation and Trade, Nuria Montes; the Councillor for Tourism, Pedro Cuesta; the Councillor for Tourism, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Paula Llobet, as well as representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, among other authorities. And chefs such as Ricard Camarena, the previous mentioned Quique Dacosta, Susi Diaz and Paco Torreblanca among others, who have supported Vicky and the rest of the award winners on this special day.
At nearly 32 years old, this chef from Quart dels Valls is living one of the most beautiful moments of her career, and this new recognition gives her a good recharge of energy and enthusiasm to continue achieving goals. Because despite the stones she encounters along the way, she understands that only with hard work, effort and perseverance can dreams continue to come true.