Winners announced: $250,000 prizes to immigrants in the culinary arts

We are thrilled to announce the winners of $250,000 in Vilcek Foundation Prizes to immigrants in the culinary arts.

Three rising stars—Fabián von Hauske Valtierra of Contra, Wildair, and Una Pizza Napoletana, Nite Yun of Nyum Bai, and New York Times journalist Tejal Rao—will each receive a $50,000 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise. Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster will receive the $100,000 Vilcek Prize.

The annual prizes honor immigrants’ enormous contributions to American arts and sciences. Past honorees include Chef José Andrés in 2010, who used his prize money to launch World Central Kitchen. In intervening years, we’ve honored immigrants in other arts categories, including architecture, music, and dance. Our 2019 awards will honor immigrants in the culinary arts; the winners were chosen by jurors including Chef Tom Colicchio, Chef Mike Anthony, Bon Appetit’s Andrew Knowlton, Beard Foundation’s Mitchell Davis, Food & Wine’s Jordana Rothman, Francis Lam of The Splendid Table, Kate Krader of Bloomberg News, and former Food & Wine editor-in-chief Nilou Motamed. 

Padma Lakshmi, writer, host, and executive producer of Bravo’s Top Chef and herself an immigrant, will present this year’s prizes at a gala in New York on April 4th.

The Vilcek Foundation Prizes shine a light on how fortunate America is to draw talent from around the world. This year they highlight the core idea that immigrants are good for our kitchens—and, of course, our country. Foreign-born chefs and writers are making enormous contributions to American cuisine: Wearing chefs’ jackets. Expanding and redefining the American culinary canon. Winning Beard Awards and Michelin stars. Forging new cuisines. And making American food better.

Ready to meet them? Watch a short video about the four culinary prizewinners.


Learn more about the prizes >

  • 2019 Vilcek Prize in Culinary Arts

    Marcus Samuelsson, a native of Ethiopia who grew up in Sweden, is a James Beard Award-winning chef working to increase access and diversity in New York City's culinary world. Marcus received the $100,000 Vilcek Prize in Culinary Arts. Learn more:


    Marcus Samuelsson >

  • 2019 Creative Promise Prizes in Culinary Arts

    Kudos to the incredibly talented winners of the 2019 Creative Promise Prizes! Read more about their accomplishments in the culinary arts:


    Tejal Rao >


    Fabián von Hauske Valtierra >


    Nite Yun >

  • Press Information

    Press kits and images for publication are available only for the purpose of media coverage of the Vilcek Foundation. All published images must be accompanied by a credit line and copyright information. Please email for information.


    Culinary Press Release >


    Download Press Kit >