50 Next: get to know 10 people rewriting the playbook of global gastronomic education

Mark Sansom - 12/07/2021

The 50 Next Empowering Educators are on a mission to change the way we think about their cultures’ food. They are at the heart of their communities in drafting new national cookbooks, improving the knowledge base of the most at-risk groups and creating sustainable infrastructures for the future. After meeting the Tech Disruptors and Hospitality Pioneers, today we introduce nine young people taking the world to school

Mariana Aleixo
The favela-born Brazilian transforming women's livelihoods through food

Bringing awareness and offering real-time solutions to the crippling poverty experienced in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Mariana took it upon herself to form Redes da Maré. The organisation acts as an institution to support women affected by domestic violence, provide healthy meals to those unable to pay for fresh food and lobby government on issues that impact the community.

Starting her career as a professional chef, Mariana quickly realised that cooking alone would not satisfy her ingrained altruistic principles. Now, she counts the 140,000 residents of the 16 favela neighbourhoods that comprise the Maré district as people who rely on her and her organisation for support. Thankfully, her voice is being heard.

Learn more about Mariana
Check out Redes da Maré


Cherrie Atilano
The progressive agriculture advocate revolutionising Filipino farming

Paying it forward is Cherrie Atilano, a woman who is passionate about supporting the rural ecosystem in the Philippines and someone who has lent her weight behind the farmers who maintain it. Her project Agrea aims to eradicate poverty in small fishing and agricultural communities, looks to encourage sustainable tourism and establish environmental pillars to defend against climate change.

“We teach them [farmers] how to cultivate their dreams beyond cultivating the land,” poignantly states Cherrie. By offering her community a sustainable future and telling positive stories about what farming can yield as a career, she gives hope to the tens of thousands of people otherwise left behind in the most isolated areas of the Philippines.

Learn more about Cherrie
Check out Agrea


Josh Gilbert
The Australian farmer applying Aboriginal learning to contemporary constructs

To Josh, land means heritage. He ensures Aboriginal people have a voice in the governmental decision-making process in Australia and campaigns tirelessly to ensure their case is put forward. Focusing primarily on extracting indigenous learning and applying it to modern farming practices, he has developed a number of concepts that are currently in action and championed by senior political figures with a number more in the works.

As a Worimi man who can trace his lineage back to the first recorded birth in Australia 40,000 years ago, Josh considers it his life’s work to challenge stereotypes associated with Aboriginal people and to show that these millennia of experience can be used to inform progressive decision making at the highest level in Australia and indeed wider afield.  

Learn more about Josh
Check out his current campaigns


Siddhi Karnani and Anurag Agarwal
The Indian entrepreneurs fostering resilience to strengthen the agricultural sector

‘Organic’ is more than a buzzword to Siddhi Karnani and Anurag Agarwal, who look to apply holistic principles and modern science to rural farming communities in India. They work with remote smallholdings that use no pesticides, growth enhancers or chemical fertilisers and help them export their crops and receive a fair price in doing so.

They have also initiated a revolutionary advanced payment scheme, meaning farmers can plan more efficiently and give their workers guaranteed employment over the course a farming cycle. It’s a model they hope to rollout across the entire subcontinent and reward the people practicing positive arable husbandry in the process.

Learn more about Siddhi and Anurag
Check out Parvata Foods

Ievgen Klopotenko

The Ukrainian chef redrafting his nation's indigenous cookbook

Can you name one traditional Ukrainian delicacy? Beyond the worldly popular chicken Kiev, most people draw a blank. Ievgen is on a mission to change this, by popularising and telling the stories behind his nation’s indigenous recipes.

In 2016 he launched Cult Food, an initiative designed to improve the food in Ukrainian schools, and is just about to release his third cookbook focussed on traditional meals. He is also set to launch a new fine dining restaurant, which will see Ukrainian food opened up to the world’s gastronomic cognoscenti.

Learn more about Ievgen
Check out his latest work


Dieuveil Malonga
The pioneer of afro-fusion cooking bringing Congolese cuisine to the world

Having toured some of the best kitchens in Europe learning his trade as a chef, Dieuveil returned to his native Congo to double down on learning about the kitchen which informed his childhood. Championing an idiosyncratic and inventive style of food he calls ‘afro-fusion’, he has inspired a generation of people to start cooking the food of their ancestors.

But his work goes beyond the inspirational. In 2016 Dieuveil launched the Chefs in Africa project, which provides free courses to young people looking for a career in restaurants. More than 4,000 young people have benefited from the organisation, which this year launched the bricks and mortar Chefs in Africa Culinary Center, which will continue to explore and extrapolate the myriad cuisines at play across the African continent.

Learn more about Dieuveil
Check out Chefs in Africa


Maureen Muketha
The Kenyan didact calling for a moratorium on malnutrition

Culinary education begins at home, according to Maureen Muketha. With her company Tule Vyema (‘Let’s Eat Right’ in Swahili), she first looks to empower women with the knowledge to cook sustainably and healthily, and second to provide the food for free to enable them to do so.

She runs day sessions which begin with a class on healthy eating and follows up with a lesson where family matriarchs are taught ‘sack farming’, a process which allows crops to grow in periods of drought. Next on her agenda is to spread the message wider still by opening facilities in the poorest parts of Africa and educating the communities who need it the most.

Learn more about Maureen
Check out Tule Vyema


Edward Mukiibi
The Slow Food ambassador helping African communities uncover their gastronomic heritage

Farming gets a bad rap in Edward Mukiibi’s home of Uganda. Seen as a negative career option and one that is reserved for society’s lowest strata, Edward sees it as his mission to put straight the narrative. He launched Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC), which goes straight to the source by educating young people about the benefits – social and fiscal – of good farming. It also encourages schools to design their own vegetable gardens, where crops are sold at market with proceeds driven straight back into education.

Edward launched Slow Food Uganda to help raise the profile of his nation’s food, while doubly putting a more constructive spin on a career in the kitchen. By helping young people reconnect with the way their ancestors used to eat, he is protecting ancient gastronomic traditions and ensures the stories will still be told in the decades to come.

Learn more about Edward
Check out Slow Food Uganda


Ted Rosner and Max Dubiel
The coffee wunderkinds helping prison inmates learn new skills

With coffee comes opportunity, according to these two university friends. After a chance meeting with a prison executive at a coffee festival, Ted Rosner and Max Dubiel launched Redemption Roasters, a programme which offers barista training to inmates up and down the UK so they can get gainful employment at the moment they are released.

The business also installs its roasteries within penitentiaries, delivering its single-origin, ethically sourced beans to be processed by prisoners. “The focus is on expanding our reach: more shops, more wholesale and more education academies,” says Ted. “This will result in more outcomes for our beneficiaries as well as a better bottom line.”

Learn more about Ted and Max
Check out Redemption Roasters

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