50 Best honours the Champions of Change

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The organisation behind the annual restaurant ranking celebrates the unsung heroes who created positive change during the pandemic

Forming a key pillar of the 50 Best for Recovery, which was launched last year in an effort to counter the devastating impact of Covid-19, Champions of Change recognises individuals who have used this period to drive meaningful change. In their communities.

This year brings opportunities for positive change as the sector rebuilds and remodels itself with a greater focus on inclusivity and long-term sustainability, which is reflected in the winners’ powerful work. A substantial donation will be made to each of the winners’ causes from the 50 Best for Recovery Fund, allowing the recipients to continue building their initiatives and supporting long-term progress in the restaurant and food sphere.

The three winners are:

  • Kurt Evans – Co-founder of Down North Pizza, a ‘mission-led for-profit restaurant’ in Philadelphia, US, which exclusively employs formerly incarcerated individuals while providing culinary career opportunities with a fair wage.
  • Viviana Varese – Chef of Viva restaurant in Milan and an LGBTQ+ and inclusivity campaigner, following her own personal experiences of discrimination, Varese is also part of the non-profit association Parabere Forum, aiming to empower women in hospitality.
  • Deepanker Khosla – An Indian chef based in Bangkok, turned his restaurant Haoma, which is staffed largely by migrants, into a soup kitchen for out-of-work Bangkok residents. He raised funds to make meals with his campaign, No One Hungry, where his staff prepped free meals for the homeless, and were able to receive food for themselves and their families as well.

“We are thrilled to recognise Kurt, Viviana and Deepanker with the first Champions of Change awards,” says William Drew, director of content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. “Their passion and fortitude in creating positive change in the hospitality sector is humbling and we can’t wait to see how they will use these donations to further their outstanding projects. We are honoured to salute the work they are doing and the example they are providing to the food world and beyond.”

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be hosted in the city of Antwerp in Flanders – the Flemish-speaking northern region of Belgium – on Tuesday, 5 October. Returning after a year’s hiatus, an extensive event programme in Flanders will culminate in the Antwerp awards ceremony, representing a key milestone in the ongoing revival of the restaurant sector.

Tina Nielsen