LONDON, April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The organisation behind The World's 50 Best Restaurants and The World's 50 Best Bars has today unveiled the first edition of 50 Next, a list of young people shaping the future of gastronomy. 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 recognised for their overall contribution to the gastronomic ecosystem, as well as their ongoing potential to drive significant positive change.
The class of 2021 includes ground-breaking 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. Full information about each person can be found on the 50 Next website here.
William Drew, Director of Content for 50 Best, says: "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. 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 organisation'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.
Joxe Mari Aizega, Director of Basque Culinary Center, says: "Since its inception 10 years ago, Basque Culinary Center has understood gastronomy to cover multiple sectors that encompass a 360° vision of the sector. The people on the 50 Next list selected by our team of experts represent this multidisciplinary, unifying and contemporary vision. Furthermore, in a global context marked by the uncertainty brought by Covid-19 and the global challenges we face, it is vital to support and recognise young talent, something that the Basque Culinary Center is doing via several initiatives. The people on the list make up a diverse mosaic that will shape the present and future vision of the sector."
Next year, 50 Next will develop further with a live event programme 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 programme 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.
Ainara Basurko, Councillor for Economic Promotion in Bizkaia Government, says: "This new project is a great opportunity to show the world the firm commitment we have made in Biscay to innovation and talent. Gastronomy is one of our big strengths, and with 50 Next not only do we enhance it and promote it in a broad sense, but also give the future of gastronomy a strong boost. It's a future that is already being brewed with sustainability and innovation, and which Biscay and the Basque Country have a lot to contribute towards."
Arantxa Tapia of the Basque Government says: "Participation in 50 Next forms part of the Basque government's inclusive, sustainable, innovative and ambitious Euskadi Basque Country Strategy. We are aware that only through collaboration can we carve out our own space in the world and reinforce the Basque Country as a territory of international importance. The Basque Country today is an inspiring place thanks to the transformational abilities of all members of its food value chain and its collaborative spirit, and this is where we need to carry on working. This is how we will continue to strengthen our competitive ecosystem, consolidate our cultural identity and keep our small country at the forefront in the field of fine eating."
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 USA. 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.
Since 2002, The World's 50 Best Restaurants has reflected the diversity of the world's culinary landscape. The annual list of the world's finest restaurants provides a snapshot of some of the best destinations for unique culinary experiences, in addition to being a barometer for global gastronomic trends. In 2020, The World's 50 Best Restaurants list was not published; instead the organisation pivoted to focus its energy and resources on supporting the hospitality community through its 50 Best for Recovery programme.
The 50 Best family also includes Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants, Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, The World's 50 Best Bars, Asia's 50 Best Bars, 50 Best Discovery and the #50BestTalks and 50 Best Explores series, all of which are owned and run by William Reed Business Media. 50 Best aims to bring together communities across the hospitality sector to foster collaboration, inclusivity, diversity and discovery and help drive positive change.
About 50 Next's Academic Partner: Basque Culinary Center
Basque Culinary Center represents a unique ecosystem where training, innovation, research and entrepreneurship coexist with the aim of developing and propelling gastronomy, which is understood as reasoned knowledge about what and how we eat. Its mission is rooted in values such as passion, innovation, excellence and social commitment. Located in San Sebastian since September 2011, Basque Culinary Center is a pioneer institution conformed by the Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences, and the Centre for Research and Innovation in the field of gastronomy; BCC Innovation researches and innovates in product design, offers various services to companies, new entrepreneurs and young people with significant projects.
In 2021, Basque Culinary Center celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since its inception, the institution has developed a 360° vision of gastronomy through different initiatives and projects. Over the coming months, it will celebrate these achievements and the challenges to come, always remaining rooted in its core values.
About 50 Next's Host Destination Partner: Biscay/Basque Country
Biscay, including its Bay, is the largest province of the Basque Country. While it is rooted in tradition, its capital Bilbao has an aura of modernity that astounds those who discover it. Visitors are welcomed to a land where gastronomy has always been the ultimate social experience and food forms the very basis of social fabric: from the daily pilgrimage of groups of friends and families from tavern to tavern to taste the hundreds of different kinds of 'pintxos', to the rituals of the local gastronomic societies also known as 'txokos'. Biscay is now witnessing the birth of a new generation of Basque cuisine, and food-loving visitors will feel they are finally 'coming home'.
The Basque Country represents one of the largest industrial concentrations in Spain and its quality levels place it at the forefront of Europe with its density of natural spaces. The Basque Country enjoys a high level of self-government and is focusing its efforts on Smart Specialisation, namely Advanced Manufacturing 4.0, Energy, Biosciences for Health and FoodTech. The food value chain is strategic for the Basque Country, representing 10.6% of GDP, with a great tradition in gastronomic culture and quality food production. The Basque Government's food policy focuses on the European farm-to-fork strategy to develop a unique, safe, sustainable and healthy food ecosystem. It also leads the Food4Future World Summit to be held next June, as an international benchmark event in FoodTech innovations.