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ECKART 2017 Award for Innovation goes to María Marte and Luisa Orlando.

Press release 4 August 2017

ECKART 2017 Award for Innovation goes to María Marte and Luisa Orlando.
From dishwasher to Michelin-starred chef.

Munich. The Eckart 2017 Award for Innovation has been presented to two individuals at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant El Club Allard in Madrid: head chef María Marte and managing director Luisa Orlando. The renowned Eckart Witzigmann and his international jury awarded the accolade in honour of Marte’s extraordinary career path from dishwasher to Michelin-starred chef, and of Orlando’s bold decision, as a manager, to support her from the very beginning.

María Marte’s cuisine stands for an innovative concept that melds contemporary cooking methods with Caribbean elements to create a fascinating Mediterranean- Latin-American fusion. Outstanding flavour combinations and original presentation are her trademark and, in collaboration with her sponsor Luisa Orlando, managing director of El Club Allard, she is realising her dream of young, exciting cuisine coupled with superior dining culture.

Born in the Dominican Republic, María Marte is linked to Spain’s Luisa Orlando by a unique story. After immigrating to Spain in 2003, Marte took on a job as a cleaner and dishwasher at El Club Allard, though her ambition from the outset was to become a chef. Defying hurdles and prejudices, she managed to fight her way into a job as kitchen assistant. In 2006, she became the right-hand woman to chef Diego Guerrero, who was awarded the restaurant’s first Michelin star in 2007 and its second in 2011. However, in the wake of Guererro’s unexpected departure in 2013, managing director Orlando decided to take a bold and unprecedented step: defying all doubts, she appointed the erstwhile dishwasher María Marte to head chef. Their success is a testimony to the credentials of both women: together, they have successfully defended the two-Michelin star rating of El Club Allard. Moreover, Marte is the only female in Latin America today to hold two Michelin stars.

page1image17096This story is like a fairytale. But it’s also much more than that: these two ladies have shown that innovation and quality will always prevail. Today, we would like to honour the courage and unbending will with which María Marte and Luisa Orlando have pursued their goals by presenting them with the ECKART 2017,” said Eckart Witzigmann, after whom the awards are named, as he explained the reasons for the jury’s choice.

Eckart 2017

In 2017, the international Eckart Witzigmann Awards (ECKART) are to be presented in three categories Art of Cookery, Innovation and Art of Living plus one further category Creative Responsibility and Enjoyment in which it is accompanied by prize moneys provided by the BMW Group.

Following the announcement of Alain Ducasse as the winner of the award for the Art of Cookery, María Marte and Luisa Orlando have now been declared top in the Innovation category. Further winners will be announced during the course of the summer.

This year, the ECKART awards will be presented outside Germany for the very first time, at a gala event in Versailles, near Paris, in September 2017. The international convention of figures from the world of culinary arts will be hosted by ECKART- winner Alain Ducasse and marks the beginning of a world tour that will continue in the US, where the ECKART awards will be presented in 2018.

As partners since 2012, the BMW Group and the Witzigmann Academy are committed to a common goal of providing an international platform for healthy eating, sustainable food culture and responsible use of resources. Award winners to date 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 and Andreas Caminada, to name just a few.

At the BMW Group, sustainability has long been an integral part of the corporate strategy, and sustainable business is an established corporate goal. It encompasses a broad spectrum of aspects ranging from the development of fuel-efficient and alternative vehicles and the use of environmentally compatible production processes to eco-friendly recycling techniques.

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If you have any questions, please contact:

BMW Group Corporate Communications

Julian Hetzenecker, BMW Group Business and Finance Communications Tel.: +49-89-382-39229

E-Mail: Internet:

Witzigmann Academy press contact: Otto Geisel
Lachner-Straße 18
80639 Munich

Phone: +49 89 139 260 26

For more about the Eckart Witzigmann Awards, go to: 

Alain Ducasse wins ECKART 2017 for “Art of Cookery”

Media Information 17 July 2017

Alain Ducasse wins ECKART 2017 for Art of Cookery

Awards gala hosted by Alain Ducasse at Palace of Versailles

Paris. The jury of the International Eckart Witzigmann Award (ECKART) has announced its first selection: Alain Ducasse will receive the ECKART 2017 for the “Art of Cookery”.

Alain Ducasse embodies a culinary philosophy that is very similar to my own. Preparing food is first and foremost a craft for him: The product takes centre-stage, with no room for airs and graces in the kitchen,” said Eckart Witzigmann, commenting on the jury’s decision.

Alain Ducasse represents the revival of haute cuisine unlike any other and makes the product the focal point in a radical way. He is the first chef to create and serve an all- vegetarian menu worthy of three stars. Ducasse thinks far beyond the plate. Food is for him a fundamental need with the status of a civil liberty.

Alain Ducasse is the only chef to have earned the highest accolade of three Michelin stars for three different restaurants: Le Louis XV” in Monte Carlo; “Le Plaza Athénée” in Paris and the Alain Ducasse at the Essex House” in New York City.

With an approach more prêt-à-porter than haute couture, Ducasse started out opening bistros in his name without aspiring to the level of a starred restaurant. In this way, he was able to share his culinary philosophy with a wide audience. Today, he operates 26 restaurants worldwide.

ECKART 2017 jury session

Chairman of the jury and host was ECKART 2013 award-winner Joël Robuchon. The jury met at the “Atelier Robuchonrestaurant in Paris to decide the winners of the ECKART 2017 in the categories “Art of Cookery”, “Innovation” and “Art of living”. This year, there were more nominees for consideration than ever before.


For the ECKART for “Creative Responsibility and Enjoyment”, introduced in 2013 with a cash award endowed by the BMW Group, the jury also draws on the expertise of former ECKART winners. The remaining recipients of the ECKART 2017 awards will be notified and announced over the course of the summer.

This is the first time the ECKART will be presented outside of Germany and marks the beginning of its world tour. The award ceremony for the ECKART 2017 will be held in Paris, with the next stop in New York City.

For the BMW Group, which has partnered with the Witzigmann Academy since 2012, sustainability has been an integral part of its 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.

If you have any questions, please contact:

BMW Group Corporate Communications

Julian Hetzenecker, BMW Group Business and Financial Communications Tel.: +49-89-382-39229

Media website:

Press contact Witzigmann Academy Otto Geisel
Lachner-Straße 18
80639 München

Tel.: +49 89 139 260 26

Further information on the Eckart Witzigmann Award can be found at: 

„München leuchtet“ in Gold for Eckart Witzigmann

„München leuchtet“  in Gold for Eckart Witzigmann

MÜNCHEN. Bürgermeister Josef Schmid hat die Auszeichnung „München leuchtet -  den Freundinnen und Freunden Münchens“ in Gold an Eckart Witzigmann verliehen.

„Der Wahlmünchner ist eine Ikone der Kulinarik und Vorbild für Köchinnen und Köche auf der ganzen Welt,“ so Josef Schmid bei der Verleihung im Münchner Rathaus. Die Landeshauptstadt verdanke dem Schaffen des Jahrhundertkochs viel internationales Renommee.

Der Bürgermeister schätzt Eckart Witzigmann als den „Urvater moderner deutscher Koch- und Küchenkultur“ und ehrt erstmals einen Spitzenkoch mit dieser höchsten Anerkennung der Stadt"„München war dabei zunächst sein Labor für die neuen Kochkünste. Mit dem Tantris und dem Aubergine wurden daraus schnell kulinarische Tempel und München ein Gravitationszentrum der internationalen Küche,“ veranschaulicht Schmid.

1979 erhielt Eckart Witzigmann mit dem „Aubergine“ als erstes Restaurant in Deutschland drei Michelin-Sterne. Er gehörte so zu den ersten beiden Köchen außerhalb Frankreichs, die diese höchste Auszeichnung erlangten und hat damit den Beginn einer kulinarischen Entwicklung ermöglicht, die bis heute anhält. Viele der heutigen Spitzenköche sind seine Schüler und tragen seine Vision qualitativ hochwertiger Produkte weiter in die Welt.


Eckart Witzigmann fördert mit der Witzigmann Academy gezielt gute und bewusste Koch-, Ernährungs- und Lebenskultur. Jahreshöhepunkt dieses Engagements ist seit 2004 die Verleihung des Internationalen Eckart Witzigmann Preises „ECKART“.

In Partnerschaft mit der BMW Group vergibt die Witzigmann Academy jährlich Preise in den Kategorien „Große Koch-Kunst“, „Innovation“, „Lebenskultur“ und „Kreative Verantwortung und Genuss“. Die Preisträger 2016 - Andreas Caminada, Dominique Crenn, der Münchner Viktualienmarkt und Sebastian Copeland.

„Der Nachhaltigkeitsgedanke sowie die Leidenschaft für beste Produkte haben Eckart Witzigmann und die BMW Group vor fünf Jahren zusammengebracht. Wir haben einen kompetenten und kreativen Partner gefunden. Gemeinsam haben wir Ideen entwickelt, um unsere Betriebsgastronomie noch besser, gesünder und nachhaltiger zu machen. Das ist für mich Ausdruck der Verantwortung und auch der Wertschätzung gegenüber unseren Mitarbeitern,“ so Dr. Nicolas Peter, Mitglied des Vorstands der BMW AG, Finanzen im Rahmen der heutigen Preisverleihung.

Seit 1961 wird die Medaille „München leuchtet“ zunächst als ehrendes Geschenk und später als offizielle Ehrung durch die Landeshauptstadt München in den Kategorien Gold, Silber und Bronze verliehen. Die Verleihung der goldenen Medaille ist die höchste Anerkennung für Personen des öffentlichen Stadtlebens und wird nur in besonderen Fällen vergeben.

Mit Gold wurden unter anderem auch Hubert Burda, Zubin Metha, Gerhard Polt und Bernd Eichinger geehrt.


 Eckart Witzigmann hatte die Medaille „München leuchtet“ 1991 bereits in Silber erhalten.



Eckart Witzigmann, receives the "Pro meritis scientiae et litterarum" award for outstanding services to science and the arts

Press Release

Nr. 341 vom 26.09.2016

September 2016

"Chef of the Century" Eckart Witzigmann, receives the "Pro meritis scientiae et litterarum" award for outstanding services to science and the arts.

Munich. Minister of Arts and Science, Dr. Ludwig Spaenle bestowed the accolade "Pro meritis scientiae et litterarum" on Eckart Witzigmann at a ceremony in Munich.

Minister Spaenle praised Eckart Witzigmann for having brought culinary art to Germany, and to Bavaria in particular. In his laudatory address, the Minister said: "A truly great chef requires the creativity and imagination of an artist. But great cuisine also demands a scientist's curiosity and thirst for knowledge. These are qualities that Eckart Witzigmann possesses to a very high degree. I am therefore delighted that I may bestow this award to someone, who so embodies both art and science."

Eckart Witzigmann, who celebrates his 75th birthday this year, was crowned "Chef of the Century" in 1994 by the Gault & Millau Restaurant Guide. This honour has been awarded to no other chefs since that time, and indeed, only four have ever received it.

Through his Witzigmann Academy, Eckart Witzigmann encourages a healthy, conscious culture of cooking, nutrition and living. His aim is to arouse awareness about high-quality food across all social strata. Since 2004, the annual highlight of the work of the Witzigmann Academy has been to award the "ECKART", the Eckart Witzigmann Prize for outstanding culinary art, and for outstanding commitment to lifestyle culture.

Since 2000, the Minister of State for Education, Culture, Science and the Arts has bestowed the "Pro meritis" award for outstanding service to science and the arts. The number of prize winners is strictly limited to a maximum of eight per year.

Numbered among them were Vicco von Bülow, Herbert Rosendorfer, Mario Adorf and Ellis Kaut.

Eckart Witzigmann is the first chef to receive the accolade.