Chefs are no longer just chefs it seems. They are expected to be social activists and help to make the world a better place. They need a beautiful building, reminiscent of a pile of dinner plates, in which to be able to do this. The Basque Culinary Centre (above) opened in autumn 2011 and was designed by Spanish architects Vaumm.  At the helm is Spain’s Ferran Adria, of El Bulli fame, and he has recruited eight other international chefs to the advisory council. France’s Michael Bras and Denmark’s Rene Redzepi, whose Copenhagen restaurant Noma was recently voted the world’s best, are members.

Issues which they should be tackling according to the council members include world hunger, food distribution, the relationship between food and public health and using cooking as a tool for social integration.  All admirable objectives that it’s difficult to argue with but how will the politicians, activists and campaigners fill their time if the chefs are busy making the world a better place. Shouldn’t they just be allowed to dry ice their way to creating wonderful and inventive dishes?

An admirable undertaking in tasty architecture or a case of chefs taking themselves too seriously? Either way the food will be good.