The first “Champions of Change” winners unveiled as the next phase of the Vital 50 Best for Recovery program


Champions of Change, as part of the upcoming The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 program, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, is a key pillar of the evolutionary initiative of the organization “50 Best for Recovery”. This year offers opportunities for positive change as the sector rebuilds and reshapes with a greater emphasis on inclusiveness and long-term sustainability, which is reflected in the powerful work of the winners. A substantial donation will be made to each of the causes of the 50 Best for Recovery Fund winners, allowing the recipients to continue building their initiatives and supporting long-term progress in the field of restoration and food.

The first of this year’s winners is Kurt evans – co-founder of Down North Pizza, a “for-profit, mission-run restaurant” in Philadelphia cream, United States, which exclusively employs formerly incarcerated people while providing culinary career opportunities with fair wages. In addition to throwing Detroit-style pizza, Down North aims to alleviate recidivism and end long-term mass incarceration. Evans is the leader and activist behind the hit ‘End Mass Incarceration’ dinner series, where families affected by mass incarceration come together with lawmakers and diners to strike up a conversation about prison reform around a multi-course meal.

He is also the co-founder of Everybody Eats Philly, a collaborative team of Black leaders in the fight against food insecurity in the city – an initiative born out of the pandemic. Evans will use the Champions of Change donation to help fund his End Mass Incarceration dinner series as well as further the work Everybody Eats Philly does to provide free meals and essentials to those in need.

Viviana Varese, who received a Michelin star for her Milanrestaurant Viva, becoming one of the very few women to Italy to do this, was also selected as Champion of Change. LGBTQ + and inclusive activist, following her own personal experiences of discrimination, Varese is also part of the non-profit organization Parabere Forum, aimed at empowering women in the hotel industry. Following the pandemic, Viviana reopened Viva in the spring of 2021, along with the new W Villadorata restaurant in Sicily, with a strong emphasis on the inclusion of staff regardless of gender, race, age or sexuality. In addition to employing and training farmers over 60 who have lost their jobs, she works with suppliers who employ people with disabilities to make her plates and pottery.

In the fall of 2021, Varese intends to open a new gelateria ice cream shop in Milan and specifically recruits and trains women who have been victims of domestic violence for the staff of the operation. Varese will use the Champions of Change donation to support this new retail project, which will provide much needed employment opportunities for vulnerable women.

When the pandemic struck Thailand, Deepanker Khosla, an Indian chief based in Bangkok, transformed its restaurant Haoma – whose staff is largely made up of migrants – into a soup kitchen for the unemployed Bangkok residents. He raised money to prepare meals with his campaign, No One Hungry, where his staff prepared free meals for the homeless and were also able to receive food for themselves and their families. Khosla employs people from Burma and Nepal who often lack citizenship and has successfully retained all of its staff despite the impact of the pandemic.

Haoma has also received a three-star certification from the sustainability organization Food Made Good and is on track to become zero waste by 2022. Khosla will use the Champions of Change donation to create and staff a full-fledged kitchen for the No One Hungry project, providing meals to thousands of people in need.

Guillaume Drew, Content Director for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “We are delighted to recognize Kurt, Viviana and Deepanker with the inaugural Champions of Change awards. Wait and see how they will use these donations to advance their exceptional projects. We are honored to salute the work they do and the example they set for the food industry and beyond. “

Stefano Bolognese, Director of Sanpellegrino’s International Business Unit, says: “Talent and human capital are the true heritage of every restaurant – assets that present a high risk of dispersion when uncertainty prevails, and therefore should be nurtured. and promoted. For this reason, we are proud to support the new Champions of Change initiative: the awards allow us to celebrate local heroes who, through their skills and creativity, positively contribute to the evolution of the gastronomy industry, offering a new opportunity to reflect on its strategic role within society. “

In 2020, 50 Best went from publishing its annual ranking and hosting live events to fundraising and supporting the hospitality industry through its 50 Best for Recovery program, which included the Fund raising $ 1.29 million with the support of its partners, including S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. 50 Best for Recovery has distributed grants to over 200 restaurants and bars and donated to a range of nonprofits in the food and beverage industry. Champions of Change is one of many special awards that will be announced by September, as part of the 2021 World’s 50 Best Restaurants event program. These people have used recent challenges as a catalyst for affirmative action and long, long-term progress, whether it’s helping others, improving the food industry, or creating a healthier planet.

Awards for the 50 best restaurants in the world 2021, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be hosted in the city of Antwerp in Flanders – the northern Flemish region of Belgium – Tuesday 5e October. Back after a year of hiatus, a vast program of events in Flanders will end with the Antwerp award ceremony, representing a key step in the continuous renewal of the restaurant industry.

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About the 50 best restaurants in the world
Since 2002, the 50 best restaurants in the world have reflected the diversity of the global culinary landscape. The annual list of the world’s most prestigious restaurants offers an overview of some of the best destinations for unique dining experiences, in addition to being a barometer and a pioneer of global gastronomic trends.

The 50 Best family also includes Latin America 50 best restaurants, asia 50 best restaurants, 50 best bars in the world, asia 50 Best Bars, 50 Next and the # 50BestTalks series, all owned and managed by William Reed Business Media. 50 Best aims to bring communities in the hospitality industry together to foster collaboration, inclusiveness, diversity and discovery and contribute to positive change.

About the main sponsor: S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna

S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are the main partners of the 50 best restaurants in the world and the 50 best restaurants. S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are the first natural mineral waters of world gastronomy. Together they interpret the Italian style all over the world as a synthesis of excellence, pleasure and well-being.

About the host destination: Flanders
Flanders is a small region where everything from delicious food to wonderful music takes craftsmanship to new levels. Cities of art like Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen are home to culinary delights, delicious chocolates and an endless variety of local and craft beers. You will find cutting edge design and fashion ahead of its time alongside ancient architecture. Its Flemish masters were experts in their craft, like Jan van Eyck, who revolutionized the techniques of oil painting. Get ready to live an experience: Flanders wants to share its secrets, its delicacies and its magni fi cation with everyone.
Contact: Anita rampall, [email protected] ; +44 (0) 20 7299 3594

About the host city: Antwerp
Antwerp has a rich culinary tradition, where food and drink are elevated to true art forms. Its inhabitants love to eat and drink in the wide range of restaurants, cafes and bars that the city is home to. The multicultural cuisines which for centuries have found their way to Antwerp thanks to the port of the city and its immigrants allied to local specialties have created a gastronomy with fascinating and varied flavors. And while Antwerp perhaps famous as the diamond capital of the world, as a fashion icon and as an international port city, it can certainly stand out from other cities when it comes to food.
Contact: Dirk Vermeiren, [email protected], + 32 (0) 3338 84 81; +32 (0) 477 234 764

Other partners

  • Estrella Damm – Official beer partner, sponsor of the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award
  • American Express – Official partner of the credit card and reservation platform (Resy), sponsor of the American Express One To Watch Award
  • Nude Glass – Official partner of the glass industry, sponsor of the award for the best female chef in the world
  • Gin Mare – Official Gin Partner, sponsor of the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award
  • Flor de Caña – Official rum partner, sponsor of the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award
  • Illycaffè – Official coffee partner
  • Beronia – Official partner of wines
  • Cinco Jotas – Official Partner of Iberian Ham
  • Nyetimber – Official Partner of Sparkling Wines
  • Aspire Lifestyles – Official Concierge Partner, Sponsor of the Highest New Entry Award

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SOURCE 50 Best

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