Elena Arzak, joint head chef with her father Juan Mari at their restaurant Arzak in Spain, has been awarded the Veuve Clicquot World's Best Female Chef Award 2012 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards .
Arzak, who is the fourth generation of her family to work in the kitchens at the restaurant in San Sebastian since it opened in 1897, will pick up her award at this year's World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards reception at the Guildhall in London on 30 April.
The award, inspired by the life and achievements of Champagne producer Madame Clicquot, is given to a female chef who embodies the qualities of Clicquot, who was responsible for turning the Champagne house into a respected brand almost 200 years ago.
Arzak, who started working in the restaurant at the tender age of 11 before going on to study in Lucerne, Switzerland, was chosen by the World's 50 Best Academy for her work in building Arzak into one of the most influential restaurants in the world.
She said news of the award came as a surprise: "I am happy for Arzak, the restaurant, my father and my family…four generations. I remember when my grandmother was cooking and how much of an inspiration she was. With this title, I think of her even more.”
This year marks the second year of the presentation of the World's Best Female Chef award. Last year French chef Anne-Sophie Pic of Maison Pic in France narrowly beat Arzak and Nadia Santini of Dal Pescatore in Italy to the titl e.
Through her work at Arzak, the chef has won international respect for her constantly evolving, cutting edge, research-based approach to cooking and experimentation with flavours. She worked at a number of restaurants across the world, including Maison Troisgros in Bras, Pierre Gagnaire in France and Le Gavroche in the UK before returning to the family business.
BigHospitality will be unveiling the winner of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award on 23 April, won last year by Arzak's father Juan Mari .
We'll also be reporting live from the awards at the Guildhall on 30 April, so for all the latest from the event, including exclusive video interviews and the all important World's 50 Best Restaurants list, visit the website, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page .
You can also watch the awards live via The World's 50 Best Restaurants website .