Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Basque Culinary Center in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo: Mondragon Unibertsitatea via Wikimedia Commons)

CIC, the Cambridge company that creates workspaces and designs programming for startups and corporations, announced a partnership with the Basque Culinary Center last month to promote the growth of gastronomic innovation and entrepreneurship.

The center, based in San Sebastián, Spain, is a culinary foundation created by a group of Basque chefs with Mondragon University as a training, research and innovation project focused on the culinary sector. CIC’s partnership is specifically with its Gastronomy Open Ecosystem, an initiative that blends science and gastronomy to establish education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship in this space.

“Gastronomy innovation is the analysis and discovery of the overall makeup and experience of ingredients, preparations and entire dishes,” said Maria Dominguez, global head of special projects at CIC, who is leading this project.

The partnership will support researchers and entrepreneurs tackling challenges in farming, the plant-based market, restaurants and more.

“Some of the areas and challenges that gastronomy is advancing include food availability and utilization, food security and sustainability,” Dominguez said, noting that the goal is to develop programs and services that foster connections between various players to accelerate the industry globally and help solve these challenges as soon as possible.

The partnership is only in its beginning stages, with projects still being explored, but one hope is to find a way to combine CIC’s International Soft Landing program – an immersive, multiweek program for startups in the process of expanding, in which CIC will match participants with mentors and make introductions to potential partners, investors, and experts in the industry – with BCC’s On the Road series, which is an international roadshow competition for food-tech startups.

Despite the international focus of BBC’s projects, the partnership with CIC is Cambridge-based. Dominguez noted how enticing Kendall Square’s status as a district of innovation is for global clients who are looking to enter the North American market. This partnership was born out of a meeting between Tim Rowe, CIC’s founder and chief executive, and Asier Alea, the Basque center’s director of global development, at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

“Asier was looking for partners who shared his organization’s mission to enable innovation and we started having conversations around working together,” Dominguez said.