by Simon Heppner
I was in Seville a couple of weeks ago at the World Travel and Tourism council’s global summit and had the good fortune to hear Barak Obama, in conversation with the Hilton CEO, Chris Nassetta, share his views on everything from climate change and escaping the White House in-tact, to social destabilisation and his travel bucket list.
The bucket list stuff was fun (anyone for Antarctica?!) and the social destabilisation worrying, but what I was struck by most were his two strong convictions; that it is the young people of today who are our best chance to deliver the change we need (“more sophisticated, more worldly, more cosmopolitan…unafraid of change”) and that this only works when vehicles exist for them to engage, to get involved and to make sure that their opinions are heard and their concerns are represented.
Our world of food service suffers like many others from an inherent bias towards representing the views of an older (male) establishment, with limited means for the views and opinions of the next generation to be heard. This undoubtedly puts a brake on the pace of change, just at the time when we need to be going in precisely the opposite direction if we are to achieve our sustainability goals.
Anything that provides a mainstream platform for the voices of the next generation is to be applauded and that’s why I am so excited to announce that Food Made Good, our global sustainable food service initiative, has recently agreed to work with S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020 to define and judge the new S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility.
S.Pellegrino Young Chef is a fantastic competition that since 2010 has acted as a global talent platform for chefs under the age of 30. Any young chef, anywhere in the world, can submit a recipe along with a photo of their dish and answer a few questions about their dreams for the future and how the dish represents their beliefs. The deadline for submission is 30 April, after which judges review the technical skills, creativity and beliefs expressed in all submissions to create a shortlist of between 10 and 15 chefs from each of the 12 regions. These chefs then go through to regional finals where they cook their signature dish for a panel of judges.
The new S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility will sit alongside the three other awards (The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award, Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thoughts Award and the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy) and Food Made Good will judge the regional finalists on a range of social value and sustainability criteria including awareness, advocacy and impact. The 12 winners of the regional finals will go through to the Grand Finale in Milan where a winner in each category will be chosen.
At its best, food is at the heart of the human experience, a wonderful gift that brings people together, expresses the individuality of place and nourishes body and soul. But we created Food Made Good because we also known that the way we produce, consume and dispose of food is implicated in many of the most serious sustainability challenges we face. The new S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility recognises the responsibility that sits alongside the gift of food and I am looking forward to discovering and learning how young chefs from all over the world are embracing that responsibility and responding to the challenge.
Simon Heppner is the CEO of Food Made Good, you can find out more at: