50 Next: Last chance to apply for the list of people shaping the future of food and drink

Laura Price - 04/11/2020

With the deadline for applications and nominations fast approaching on November 12th, we set out what sort of people should apply, or be nominated, for 50 Next

Just last month, 50 Best launched a brand new initiative to celebrate and champion the young people transforming the future of gastronomy – and by that we mean the entire food and drink chain, from independent winemakers and cattle farmers to scientists, activists and even consumers. If you’re a disrupter, a creator, an entrepreneur or a gamechanger (or perhaps all of the above), we want to hear from you: head to the 50 Next website and tell us how your work is contributing to a better future.

Know someone else who deserves to be recognised on this list? Whether you’re a manager, a mentor, an employee or a friend, you can nominate an individual that you think should be celebrated for his or her work – and there is no limit to the amount of people you can nominate. 50 Next will be a diverse, global selection of people doing incredible things across all areas of the food and drink world. Check out the list below for ideas on the types of people who might apply.

Farming, sourcing, distribution and processing

50 Next will showcase people tackling issues at the root of the food and drink sector, whether finding solutions to problems in the agricultural system or improving the way suppliers work with restaurants, bars, shops and consumers. For example:

- A young coffee farmer in Ethiopia who has set up a cooperative to empower women to make a better income for their families
- A fisher in Japan championing humane and sustainable fishing methods and sharing learnings with others in the trade
- A young entrepreneur in Italy who has found a new way to connect suppliers and producers with restaurants and bars to benefit everyone in the chain
- An independent cattle farmer in Brazil who has developed ways to raise livestock while reducing environmental impact
- A cheesemaker, or vegan cheesemaker, bringing important changes and a fresh new approach to the industry in France


While the 50 Best lists celebrate the finest bars and restaurants, 50 Next will champion bartenders, chefs, sommeliers, restaurant and bar managers with the most game-changing approaches. For example: 

- A sommelier in Georgia educating restaurants and wine bars on new and surprising approaches to wine pairing
- A zero-waste bartender in Chile who has found novel ways to create sustainable cocktails or spirits
- A development chef in South Africa who has discovered how to enhance vegan food through fermentation or other techniques
- A restaurateur in the US at the forefront of a movement to empower people of colour in the hospitality sector
- A chef in Singapore who has pioneered new and accessible ways to cook and eat using all parts of the animal or vegetable
- A chef, restaurateur or bartender in New Zealand helping to discover and revive indigenous ingredients and techniques that are in danger of being forgotten


At the heart of change is education, which is why 50 Next is looking for the teachers, lecturers and even students pushing forward new and innovative ideas. For example: 

- A food technology student in Bogotá who has successfully campaigned for healthier meals in schools
- A primary school teacher in Ghana educating young children on nutrition and positive, sustainable agriculture
- A university professor in Scotland who is helping to create meaningful employment models in the hospitality sector for disadvantaged people
Science and technology

Whether you’ve created an app or a scientific solution to an issue in the food and drink world, 50 Next needs you! For example:

- An entrepreneur in Poland who has found a way to reduce plastic use in restaurants, bars and hotels
- A young scientist in China who has developed a healthy way to create foods using less sugar and salt
- An inventor of protein replacements for the fast-growing vegan market in Canada
- An original thinker and disrupter in Northern Ireland who has created a mechanism to redirect food waste from supermarkets and restaurants to the hungry

Business, politics and society  

50 Next welcomes policy-makers, business leaders or activists leading the food and drink revolution. For example:

- A young NGO founder in Thailand with a game-changing approach to tackling the world’s hunger problems
- An inspirational Ted Talker or voice of young people who is speaking up about local ingredients in Russia
- An activist in India campaigning for concrete changes that will help reduce climate change and protect the future of food

Design, arts and culture

Art and culture are interlinked with food and drink, and there are many ways through which real issues can be tackled visually or in words. 50 Next would love to find the young people using the arts for positive change. For example: 

- An investigative journalist in Argentina who has uncovered valuable information affecting the future of agribusiness
- An artist in Zimbabwe who has created an exhibition to help expose flaws in our food and drink systems
- A photographer or videographer in Malaysia who has documented the devastating effects of deforestation, bringing it to the attention of world leaders
- A museum or gallery curator in Spain who has brought important work around food, drink and agriculture to the eyes of the people

If this list has provided inspiration and you think you are someone, or know someone, who fits the bill, watch the video below to find out more:

Finally, here’s some key information on how to apply or nominate:

Applications for the 50 Next list are open until 12th November 2020. We are looking for people from all countries and backgrounds – and we’d love for you to tell us as much as possible about your work. What makes it game-changing? What is your vision for the future? How will your work disrupt the status quo? Give us as much information as possible!

We are looking for:

- People aged 35 or under* (If you are over 35 but starting a new career path, you can also apply, provided you have a maximum of three years’ experience in your chosen field)
- People working at all levels and in all areas of gastronomy, or in disciplines that have a direct impact on gastronomy, including, but not limited to: activists, chefs, consumers, designers, distributors, educators, entrepreneurs, farmers, fishers, food and drink writers, non-profit workers, researchers, restaurateurs, scientists, sommeliers, tech creators, winemakers and more
- People who are pushing the boundaries of gastronomy and tackling challenges from fresh perspectives
- People who have achieved results or shown clear progress through their work towards a particular goal

*Applicants should be 35 or under on 22 February 2021

50 Next is created in partnership with the internationally renowned Basque Culinary Center. The inaugural list will be revealed on 22nd February 2021, with later events held in Bilbao in the Spanish region of Biscay, the official host partner of 50 Next. Apply by 12th November!