HESTON Blumenthal has won the Grand Prix de lArt de la Cuisine 2008, a prestigious prize awarded by the culinary institution lAcademie International de la Gastronomie.
The president of the Academie, Rafael Anson, paid tribute to Blumenthal`s "brilliant, innovative cooking" at a dinner in Madrid, orgamised as part of the Madrid Fusion culinary show.
He then invited legendary chef and friend of Blumenthal, Ferran Adria, to present the prize.
Before handing over the award to Blumenthal, Adria offered an insight into the relationship between the two chefs.
"There`s no competition between us," said the chef of El Bulli. "Every interview I do I`m asked about him and every interview he does he`s asked about me.
"We could have become great adversaries but instead we`ve become great friends. We are a great example to young chefs everywhere. It`s about sharing ideas."
Blumenthal said he was honoured to receive the award and particularly pleased to be presented it in Madrid.
"Madrid Fusion does hold a special place in my heart," he explained. "The 2004 show was a great memory for me.
"It was three days that changed my life. It was the first time I did a presentation here in Madrid and 50 per cent of the audience didn`t walk out.
"We also got the third Michelin star while I was there. And I forged a relationship with this man here, Ferran Adria."
There was further success for Blumenthal at this year`s Madrid show. For the first time, the event`s organisers decided to honour TV`s top chefs.
The chef and owner of the Fat Duck in Bray picked up the UK prize for his series, In Search of Perfection.