50 Next: meet 7 innovators at the forefront of change in dining and drinking

Giulia Sgarbi - 18/06/2021

The 50 Next Hospitality Pioneers, supported by S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy, are a group of chefs, bartenders and R&D wizards under 35 driving innovation across the hospitality sector. After meeting the Tech Disruptors last month, today we introduce seven young people whose work is revolutionising the industry

Diego Prado
The ground-breaking Chilean R&D cook on a constant quest for innovation
Diego Prado (image: Catherine del Pino)

Would you eat the hydrolysed silk of a silkworm? Blending the boundaries between science and gastronomy is Diego Prado’s chief responsibility at restaurant Alchemist in Copenhagen, Denmark.

As head of R&D at one of the most daring, experimental restaurants in the world, the Chilean cook researches and champions products not commonly used in the kitchen, such as seeds, shells, toxic plants and butterflies. At his studio Prado Taller, Diego began focusing on innovation via food waste in 2014, and has since also founded BCulinaryLab, an R&D kitchen and laboratory based in San Sebastian, Spain, aimed at generating knowledge around gastronomy.

Learn more about Diego
Check out Alchemist, where Diego works as head of R&D

Ashtin Berry
The hospitality activist re-writing the playbook for equitable service systems
In recent years, the movement to make the hospitality industry a more equitable place to work has been gathering momentum. Within the US, Ashtin Berry – sommelier, mixologist, drinks consultant, activist, writer and campaigner – has been creating a blueprint for positive change. Her progressive work saw her named the Roku Industry Icon as part of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020.

Ashtin tackles issues of harassment, wage inequality, sex and race relations, patriarchy and privilege head-on, drafting progressive curriculums for hospitality businesses that want to achieve forward-thinking goals. At the same time, she leads a content agency that analyses intersectionality called Radical Xchange, which honours Black hospitality workers with the Resistance Served symposium. The latest edition focussed on raising awareness around the needs of hospitality workers affected by Covid-19 with America’s Table.

Learn more about Ashtin
Check out Radical Xchange, Ashtin’s innovative content agency

Jo Barrett and Matt Stone
The sustainable chef duo rethinking the world's future food systems
Much more than just a buzzword, ‘zero waste’ is becoming a true ethos for chefs and bartenders who see hospitality as an essential medium to bring about a sustainable revolution, from Hong Kong to Australia. Such is the case for Jo Barrett and Matt Stone, the couple behind Oakridge Wines in Australia’s premier Yarra Valley region.

While making their names as two of Australia’s most forward-thinking sustainable chefs at the winery’s restaurant, Jo and Matt are also throwing themselves into Melbourne-based Future Food System, a property that harnesses the power of solar energy and gas from a bio-digester to produce food in a zero-waste environment.

Learn more about Jo and Matt
Check out Oakridge Wines, Jo and Matt’s award-winning winery and restaurant

Claudia Albertina Ruíz Sántiz
The pioneering indigenous cook challenging tradition and defying expectation
Claudia Albertina Ruíz Sántiz isn’t afraid of taking the first leap. A member of the Tzotzil community in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, she became the first indigenous woman to enter the school of gastronomy at the state’s University of Science and Art, and later the first to work in chef Enrique Olvera’s kitchen at 50 Best heavyweight Pujol.

Since 2016, she has been running her own restaurant, Kokonó, where she promotes indigenous food culture but also provides young people in the community with training, skills and jobs, while supporting local producers and educating customers on the origin and value of each dish. Speaking out against sexism, racism and stereotypes, Claudia Albertina has become a role model for indigenous women everywhere.

Learn more about Claudia Albertina
Check out Claudia Albertina’s ground-breaking restaurant Kokonó

David Zilber
The cerebral chef and researcher democratising fermentation
In recent years, the appetite for fermented food globally has been gathering pace – and, if David Zilber’s work is anything to go by, the technique has the potential to define a new generation of restaurants. As Head of Fermentation at Copenhagen’s Noma until 2019, and now through his partnership with global bioscience company Chr. Hansen, David has been stretching the boundaries of fermentation and microbiology.

What’s more, the Toronto-born chef and researcher believes that fermentation may hold the key to help feed the world. Through his work, he intends to bring undiscovered flavour, new edible experiences and fresh strains of sustainable crops. Because, as David explains, “deliciousness requires no translation.”

Learn more about David
Check out David’s latest adventures on his Instagram channel

Douglas McMaster
The climate-forward chef behind the world's first 100% zero-waste restaurant
Confit fennel with Mexican marigold and Douglas McMaster (portrait: Sam A. Harris)

Following in the footsteps of Dutch artist and zero-waste pioneer Joost Bakker, whom he met in 2011, Douglas McMaster became the head chef of the world’s first waste-free café in Melbourne in the early 2010s. By 2014, he was back in his native UK to bring the concept to a new audience.

His restaurant, Silo, was founded in Brighton on England’s southeast coast and has since moved its operation to London. Here, Douglas shuns all plastics, favouring reusable containers and focuses on ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, composting every possible leftover. His tasting menus are works of culinary art.

Learn more about Douglas
Check out Silo, Douglas’ pioneering London restaurant

Marsia Taha
The multi-talented cook preserving Bolivian biodiversity and ancestral food culture
Growing up in Bolivia – a country where ancestral gastronomic culture remains undervalued – Marsia Taha dreamt of making gastronomy an engine for national socio-economic development. Gustu in the capital La Paz, a restaurant that trains underprivileged youths in the cooking arts, was the perfect match for Marsia, who joined in 2013 and quickly rose to the position of head chef.

The Bulgarian-born cook also strives to create new sustainable livelihoods for rural communities, cooperatives and the indigenous peoples of Bolivia through Sabores Silvestres, a multidisciplinary group that seeks to research, understand and preserve Bolivian products and food heritage.

Learn more about Marsia
Check out Marsia’s exciting Sabores Silvestres project

Keep an eye on the 50 Next website for more developments and for information on how to apply and nominate for next year’s list