50 Best unveils global list of young people shaping the future of gastronomy—and our very own Louise Mabulo and Cherrie Atilano are on it
Cherrie Atilano and Louise Mabulo
The organization behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Bars has unveiled the first edition of 50 Next, a list of young people shaping the future of gastronomy. The list includes six Asians, two of whom are from the Philippines—empowering agricultural educator and activist Cherrie Atilano, who founded Agrea, an inclusive enterprise on a mission to build a replicable model for island economies with zero hunger, zero waste, and zero insufficiency, and award-winning chef, entrepreneur, agriculture advocate and public speaker Louise Mabulo and the behind The Cacao Project that is equipping Filipino farmers for sustainable success.
Designed to inspire, empower, and connect the next generation of leaders, 50 Next celebrates people aged 35 and under from across the wider food and drink scene, from producers and educators to tech creators and activists. This year’s virtual announcement will be followed in 2022 with a live event in the region of Biscay, in the Basque Country of Spain, the official Host Destination Partner to 50 Next, once travel restrictions are eased.
A list but not a ranking, 50 Next specifically celebrates people, complementing the annual rankings of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Bars. It was formed through robust research and analysis by 50 Next and the internationally renowned Basque Culinary Center, following an overwhelming response to open calls for applications and nominations and a proactive scouting for candidates. At a time of much-needed global recovery, the initiative promotes positive, sustainable, and visionary thinking.
The inaugural list aims to represent the diversity of the global gastronomic scene, featuring people from 34 different countries across six continents. Delving into the wider meaning of gastronomy, 50 Next is divided into seven industry-led categories: Gamechanging Producers, Tech Disruptors, Empowering Educators, Entrepreneurial Creatives, Science Innovators, Hospitality Pioneers (supported by S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy), and Trailblazing Activists. Each category is unranked and comprises a broad spectrum of professions, with those on the list recognized for their overall contribution to the gastronomic ecosystem, as well as their ongoing potential to drive significant positive change.
The class of 2021 includes groundbreaking Australian fish butcher Josh Niland, progressive agriculture advocate Cherrie Atilano from the Philippines, Ghanaian tech innovator Isaac Sesi, Mexican indigenous pioneer Claudia Albertina Ruiz, and Jhannel Tomlinson, a Jamaican climate-change champion who empowers women through coffee. The youngest on the list is 20-year-old Basque medical student Maitane Alonso Monasterio, who has invented a machine to preserve food.
“As the world of gastronomy strives to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic, it is more important than ever for us to support, empower, and celebrate those at every level of the food and drink chain,” says says William Drew, director of content for 50 Best. “By bringing together this truly diverse list of young people with the support of the Basque Culinary Center, the Biscay region and the wider 50 Best family, we pledge to nurture, uplift and provide a platform for those fighting for a brighter future for gastronomy. 50 Next allows us to connect today’s leaders with the next generation.”
With an open call for applications and nominations in late 2020, 50 Next breaks from the organization’s traditional model of anonymous voting. A total of 700 candidates were considered from direct applications, nominations by third parties and talent scouted by the team of experts at the Basque Culinary Center, 50 Next’s Academic Partner. All finalists were subject to in-depth interviews and robust analysis before being selected.
Next year, 50 Next will develop further with a live event program in Bilbao, in the Biscay region of the Basque Country, to celebrate those on both the 2021 and 2022 lists, foment conversation, and foster new relationships within the gastronomic community. This live program will also feature representatives from the “Best of the Best” group of restaurants that have previously been ranked No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants annual list.
As the ‘Culinary Nation’ and Europe’s vanguard in design, innovation, and gastronomy, Biscay and the Basque Country are natural partners for 50 Next, which celebrates the young people who are truly pushing boundaries and tackling challenges from fresh perspectives.
50 Best, Biscay and the Basque Country are delighted to build on their long-standing relationships that strengthened with the 2018 edition of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants hosted in Bilbao.
Finally, the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy will work as a supporting partner of this exciting new project, following its strong commitment to supporting and training the next generation of visionary talents who want to make a difference in gastronomy. The academy, the inspiring community launched at the end of November 2020 by S. Pellegrino, will involve a selection of candidates from the 50 Next “Hospitality Pioneers” category in its 2021/22 educational program as lecturers. Alongside the most renowned members of the world of gastronomy, they will have the opportunity to share their experience with hundreds of passionate young chefs.
As the first global list of its kind, 50 Next includes five people based in Africa, six in Asia, one in the Caribbean, 18 in Europe, seven in Latin America, two in the Middle East, three in Australasia, and eight in the US. While there are 29 countries of residence featured, there are 34 countries of origin, owing to the fact that many young innovators have left their home countries to settle in tech, business, or educational hubs such as the UK and US.
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