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Home » Latino Art Historian and Chef Receive Prizes Honoring Immigrants in U.S.

Latino Art Historian and Chef Receive Prizes Honoring Immigrants in U.S.

Carmen C. Bambach and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra Recognized for Contributions to American Arts and Humanities


The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Vilcek Foundation Prizes, awarded to spotlight immigrant contributions to all facets of American society.

“The U.S. could not maintain its position at the forefront of the arts and sciences if not for the many immigrants who decided to stake their lives and careers here,” says Rick Kinsel, president of the Vilcek Foundation. “With these prizes, we are pleased to give them the positive and public recognition that they so deserve.”


Carmen C. Bambach, born in Chile, is the recipient of the inaugural Vilcek Prize for Excellence. The prize includes a $100,000 award and is bestowed upon immigrants who have profoundly impacted American society and world culture. Bambach, curator of Italian and Spanish drawings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of the most accomplished museum curators and internationally recognized experts in Old Master drawings. She explained the use of drawings in the complex technical processes used in producing panel paintings and frescoes during the Italian Renaissance, and has published over 70 scholarly articles, collaborated on many exhibitions of Renaissance artists, and wrote numerous entries for exhibition catalogues. Bambach was the organizer and curator of the 2017-18 Met exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer, which included drawings that had never been exhibited before, for a once-in-a-lifetime viewing opportunity. Her four-volume treatise, Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered, is forthcoming from Yale University Press this summer.


Fabián von Hauske Valtierra, born in Mexico, is the recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Culinary Arts. The $50,000 prize is awarded to support early-to-mid-career immigrant professionals who have demonstrated significant promise. Von Hauske Valtierra is the co-chef and co-owner of Contra, Wildair, and Una Pizza Napoletana, all in New York City. Von Hauske Valtierra has built a reputation for combining diverse, international influences into a voice that is ambitious, experimental, and accessible. He has received several honors, including Michelin stars in 2017, and 2018, and has been named to the lists of Eater’s “Young Guns”; Zagat‘s “30 Under 30”; Forbes’ “30 Under 30″; and Food & Wine‘s “Best New Chefs”.

The prizewinners will be honored at a gala ceremony in New York in April, with presentations by Padma Lakshmi, New York Times best-selling author and host/executive producer of Top Chef; Marica Vilcek, co-founder of the Vilcek Foundation and a trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Titia de Lange, Leon Hess Professor at the Rockefeller University.

The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the foundation, to honor immigrant contributions to the U.S. and to foster appreciation of the arts and sciences, was inspired by the couple’s careers, as well as their appreciation for the opportunities they received as newcomers. The foundation awards annual prizes to immigrants, sponsors cultural programs, and manages the Vilcek Foundation Art Collections. To learn more, please visit