50 Best has unveiled three winners of a novel initiative called Champions of Change, underlining silent heroes from the hospitality sector, who initiated affirmative changes among their communities during the pandemic affected 18 months.
The awards this year go to chefs Kurt Evans from the US, Viviana Varese from Italy, and Deepanker Khosla from Thailand.
Chef, artist-activist and social entrepreneur Kurt Evans from Philadelphia was chosen for using his gastronomic proficiencies to help society live through the forced confinement.
He started the efficacious ‘End Mass Incarceration’ banquet series, where families affected by mass captivity come together with lawgivers and patrons to participate in talk about prison transformation over a multi-course meal. Evans is also the co-founder of Everybody Eats Philly, a collective squad of Black chefs fighting against food uncertainty in the city.
Viviana Varese, chef of Viva restaurant in Milan, Italy was chosen for her efforts to end obstacles around LGBTQ+ and inclusivity. Varese is part of the non-profit association Parabere Forum, targeting to endow women in hospitality.
Viviana reopened Viva in Spring 2021 as well as a new restaurant W Villadorata in Sicily, with a convincing effort on staff inclusivity irrespective of gender, sexuality, age or race. Apart from engaging and training farmers over the age of 60 who have no jobs, she collaborates with traders who hire people with infirmities to make her plates and pottery. Varese expects to open a new gelateria ice cream shop in Milan in autumn this year and is explicitly employing and coaching women who have been sufferers of domestic vehemence to operate the operation.
Indian origin Deepanker Khosla – chef-owner of Haoma in Bangkok, Thailand was awarded for turning his restaurant into a soup kitchen during the pandemic, thus generating key employment openings for immigrants. He raised funds to make meals with his campaign, No One Hungry, where his workforce prepared free meals for the homeless, and were adept in obtaining food for themselves and their families as well.
Khosla hires people from Myanmar and Nepal who often lack citizenship and he was able to retain his team effectively notwithstanding the influence of the pandemic. Haoma also received a three-star accreditation by sustainability body Food Made Good and is on its way to become zero waste by 2022.
2021 brings prospects for optimistic amendment as the food and hospitality sector restructures and modifies itself with a larger attention on inclusivity and lasting sustainability, which is echoed in the winners’ influential work.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in affiliation with S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, had launched the ‘50 Best for Recovery’ fund last year to support the industry through the trying times.
A significant bequest will be made to each of the winners’ grounds from the 50 Best for Recovery Fund, so that the receivers can continue with the community level work they have been doing and other similar projects.
William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said, “We are exhilarated to appreciate Kurt, Viviana and Deepanker with the first Champions of Change awards. Their appetite and courage in generating confident change in the hospitality sector is chastening and we can’t wait to see how they will use these aids to advance their stupendous projects. We are revered to acknowledge the work they are doing and the illustration they are delivering to the food world and beyond.”
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 awards this year will be held in Antwerp in Flanders (the Flemish-speaking northern region of Belgium) on Tuesday, October 5.
Returning after a year’s pause, the all-encompassing event will conclude in the Antwerp awards ceremony, signifying a significant breakthrough in the constant restoration of the restaurant sector.