On January 16, Carlo Petrini, Founder and President of Slow Food International, was awarded the 2014 Johannes van Dam Prize.
The prize, named after the Dutch culinary journalist and writer Johannes van Dam (1946-2013), was established in 2012 by the Special Collections Department of the University of Amsterdam. It is awarded annually to those who have made significant contributions to the dissemination of gastronomic knowledge.
During a ceremony held at the University of Amsterdam, Jury Chair Louise Fresco honored Petrini in her speech, stating that he had singlehandedly changed our thinking about food and society.
“The term ‘slow’ has now permeated nearly every realm of our society: we have slow cities, slow travel and tourism, and even slow working. It has become an iconic term to counter the speed of the hasty, media-driven world of today. Even if it is difficult to define slow exactly, the intention is clear: to live, eat and work in a meaningful and mindful way with attention to details, to the here and now,” she added.
On receiving the prize, Petrini told the audience that it was an honor and a pleasure to receive the award named after a person who represented so much for Dutch gastronomy.
“Along with with Brillat-Savarin, he was able to gain academic dignity as a gastronome, but also free gastronomy from the label of pseudoscience or mere folklore in Holland,” he said.
Petrini also paid tribute to the previous winners of the award such as cookbook writer Claudia Roden and culinary scientist Harold McGee, saying he valued their work highly.
You can find photos from the ceremony here.
Photo credit: Monique Kooijmans