West African chef Fatmata Binta has won the Basque Culinary World Prize (BWCP) 2022 for showcasing sustainable nomadic culinary culture and exploring the diaspora of West African cuisine through her innovative “Dine on a Mat” pop-up initiative. She will now receive the €100,000 endowment for a programme of her choice.
Originally from Sierra Leone, Fatmata Binta, known as Chef Binta, has become a benchmark in Fulani, nomadic and modern cuisine. Heir to the traditions of the largest nomadic tribe in Africa (with more than 20 million people moving tirelessly through vast territories), she strives to spread the essence of this culture with her so-called Dine on a Mat initiative, a nomadic restaurant which has offered an immersive experience across three continents to show the ways of eating and interacting with the food of the Fulani.
“I want to thank Basque Culinary World Prize for this award. This is such an honour not just for me but for all of the women that will be empowered and inspired to reach their highest potential and this will also shed light on the challenges but most importantly bring about solutions for women,” says Binta.
Platform for change
Binta considers the initiative a platform for community development, income creation and education. She estimates that over 300 families from 12 communities as well as four regions of Ghana currently benefit from the initiative.
“We can no longer afford to deny the full potential of women. The world needs to tap into the talent and wisdom of women. Whether the issue is food security, economic recovery or peace, the participation of women is needed now more than ever,” concludes Binta.
In the 2022 edition of the BCWP, the jury has recognised the work of two other chefs, awarding special mentions to Douglas McMaster of Silo restaurant in the UK for his dedication to the zero-waste movement in gastronomy and Edson Leite for his educational work with the initiative “Gastronomia Periférica” in Brazil.
The BCWP, now in its 7th edition, continues to bet on the transformative power of gastronomy by sharing inspiring stories of chefs who are having a positive impact beyond the kitchen. The BCWP jury, chaired by Joan Roca, head chef of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, is made up of the members of the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center and includes some of the most influential chefs in the world.