50 Next: London chef Santiago Lastra recognised in Bilbao as one of the 50 young people shaping the future of gastronomy
The World’s 50 Best has today unveiled the second edition of 50 Next, a list of young people shaping the future of gastronomy, and London chef Santiago Lastra is one of those honoured at the event. This year marks the first ever live event to celebrate 50 Next, held today at the Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao, Basque Country. Designed to inspire, empower and connect the next generation of industry 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. The list also considers applicants over the age of 35 who have recently set out on a new career path.
A list in no particular order, 50 Next specifically celebrates people, complementing the annual rankings of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and the World’s 50 Best Bars as well as the 50 Best regional restaurants and bars lists. It was compiled through robust research and analysis by 50 Next and the internationally renowned Basque Culinary Centre, following an overwhelming response to open calls for applications and nominations and proactive scouting for candidates.
The second edition of 50 Next builds on the first edition (revealed in 2021), aiming to represent the diversity of the global gastronomic scene, and featuring people from 30 different territories across six continents. Delving into the wider meaning of gastronomy, the list is divided into seven industry-led categories: Game-changing Producers, Tech Disruptors, Empowering Educators, Entrepreneurial Creatives, Science Innovators, Hospitality Pioneers 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 2022 includes a wide range of groundbreaking individuals, including innovative thinkers Anusha Murthy and Elizabeth Yorke, who are sparking conversation around Indian food systems; Dinara Kasko, the Ukrainian cake-maker who started a pastry revolution; vertical farming advocate Jessica Naomi Fong, who is feeding Hong Kong with fresh local produce; Mmabatho Molefe, the chef empowering Black women and challenging misconceptions of indigenous cuisine; and Lefteris Arapakis, the fisherman tackling ocean pollution in Greece. The youngest on the list is 22-year-old Mustapha Diyaol-Haqq, the Ghanaian coder leading the charge for agricultural innovation. Full information about each person can be found on the 50 Next website here.
William Drew, director of content for 50 Best, said: “We are delighted to announce the 50 Next class of 2022 at a live ceremony, where we can celebrate the next generation of gastronomic leaders together and pay homage to their incredible achievements. With the support of the Provincial Council of Biscay, Basque Government and the Basque Culinary Centre, we are able to bring together this truly diverse group of young people and focus on nurturing talent and creating a platform for those fighting for a brighter future for gastronomy. We have no doubt that both the class of 2021 and class of 2022 will continue to do tremendous work in their various fields and we look forward to following their projects for many years to come.”
Joxe Mari Aizega, general manager of Basque Culinary Centre, commented: “50 Next reflects the variety of profiles that shape the present and the future of the gastronomy sector. Today we have announced the second generation of 50 Next, and from the Basque Culinary Centre, we want to celebrate this unifying view of gastronomy led by young people all over the world. After two years of the pandemic, we have been able to share views and experiences first-hand. Young talents like those we have shared today ensure that the gastronomic sector will continue to grow and become a tool for transformation. These profiles address professions that go beyond the kitchen, and that, from a 360-degree perspective of gastronomy, represent a sector that is continuously evolving.”
Unai Rementeria, president of the government of Biscay, added: “50 Next is an inspiring and necessary event at a time when gastronomy and the entire food industry value chain is facing its own revolution. And we want that revolution to happen here, in Bizkaia. We are looking for talent and projects that can grow in our territory and make Bizkaia grow. We support innovation and talent and possess a modern infrastructure, public commitment, and the necessary ecosystem to bring this to fruition.”
Bittor Oroz, deputy councillor for agriculture, fisheries and food policy of the Basque Government, says: “We have seen many changes around the world in recent years, often related to food, and the Basque Country wants to play an active role in these changes. Also, we are facing some future challenges that will require significant changes in society, in people, in businesses and in economic systems. To face these challenges, the 50 Next class of 2022, talented young people, are essential to lead this transformation of the future in which they will be the protagonists.”
To celebrate the unveiling of the Class of 2022, as well as to honour the Class of 2021, a one-day 50 Next event was hosted in partnership with the Biscay region and Basque Government. It included participation from legendary chefs Mauro Colagreco, Dominique Crenn and Joan Roca, with a series of presentations, live interviews and interactive panels, uniting today’s gastronomic leaders with the voices of the future. The one-day event covered some of the most pressing topics of our time, including challenging animal proteins, rethinking food waste and unearthing and celebrating indigenous cuisines. The event culminated in a live ceremony during which the 2022 list was unveiled.
The food desk
Photo: Filippo L’Astorina
The 50 Next list 2022:
Yi Jun Loh
Camila Fiol Stephens
Juan Pablo Medina
Mariana da Silva Vasconcelos
Corrado Paternò Castello
Dharath Hoon Chamlon
Jessica Naomi Fong
Pol Contreras Vilapriñó
Yu Hsuan Cheng
Javier Rivero Yarza
Michael Adé Elégbèdé
Mette Brink Søberg
Risha Jasmine Nathan
Scott William Braley