50 Best today announces its three 2022 Champions of Change, hospitality heroes who are creating positive change for their communities through their work. An award launched last year to celebrate the industry’s unsung heroes, in 2022 the accolade is given to two individuals and a pair who lead meaningful action and create plans for a better hospitality sector.

Champions of Change, as part of the upcoming The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 program, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, is a key pillar of the organization’s ever-evolving “50 Best for Recovery” initiative. After the award was introduced in 2021 in response to the industry rebuilding and reshaping after a difficult 18 months, it continues this year to support the powerful work of individuals effecting positive change. 50 Best will make a substantial donation to each of the winners’ causes, allowing the winners to continue to grow their initiatives and support long-term progress in the restaurant and food industry.

One of the 2022 winners is Dieuveil-Malongathe 30-year-old restaurant chef Meza Malonga in Kigali, Rwandawhich he opened in 2020. Malonga’s mission is “to write a new history of gastronomy that has its roots in Africa and contribute to further establishing African cuisine as a gastronomic one”. congohe moved to Germany 13 years, then later at Marseilles. His quest to create a culinary bridge between African flavors and Western cuisine led him to visit 38 africa 54 States. Recognized as part of the 50 Next 2021, he is also the founder of Chefs in Africa (created in 2016), an online platform that cultivates the talent and culinary passion of Africa helping cooks overcome barriers such as lack of training, employment and equipment, as well as discrimination. Cooks in Africa connects government institutions, training centers and companies with professional chefs and young culinary students or apprentices from across the continent looking for work experience. It currently has more than 4,000 African chefs among its members.

Meza Malonga currently trains 10 young chefs each year through its culinary training program, including providing scholarships to aspiring chefs and providing English lessons to help them spread their message to the world. Malonga plans to move Meza Malonga from Kigali to a larger site in Musanze, also at Rwanda, in 2023, where it works with local farmers to grow sustainable crops and ingredients, while expanding its culinary training program to 15 young cooks per year. The Champions of Change donation will support this endeavour. The new house also aims to promote the development of culinary tourism in rural areas through cooking classes and gastronomic events.

Malonga comments: “Transmission is the key to a better future. I am honored to be named Champion of Change and will continue to nurture the passion and talent of African chefs.

Koh Seng Chounbased between hong kong and Singaporeis the founder of Dignity Kitchen, from Asia first community food court run by people with disabilities. After studying engineering and business administration in the United Kingdom, Seng Choun returned to Singapore set up his own management consulting firm. In 2010, at the age of 50, he left his brilliant career to focus on social entrepreneurship and opened the first Dignity Kitchen in Singaporefollowed by hong kong location in December 2019.

Dignity Kitchen acts as a school to train the disabled and underprivileged to become hawker stall operators. Having turned to community service during the pandemic, providing hot food to homeless shelters and nursing homes, as well as food stamps to minority groups, it offers customers a system to “pay it forward to donate meals to the needy. Dignity Kitchen is part of Project Dignity, which supports people with disabilities through several other initiatives created by Seng Chounincluding Dignity Mama, a second-hand bookstore run by struggling mothers and children, and Dignity Meal, a food security initiative for the underprivileged, among others.

In his spare time, Choon lectures on the subject of entrepreneurship to MBA students and helps ex-con and pre-liberals realize their entrepreneurial ambition. During this pandemic, Seng Choun provides a thousand packed lunches every day to the poor and needy in hong kong and Singapore including thousands of cookies and muffins as “morale boosters” for frontliners like nurses and cleaners in hospitals. on his work, Seng Choun says, “A person with a disability just has different abilities; look at their abilities, not their disabilities.”

Londonbased friends Olia Hercules and Alissa Timoshkina launched a food fundraising initiative for UNICEF called #CookForUkraine in response to the war in Ukraine, where Hercules was born. After leaving her hometown of Kakhova for university in the UK, she quit her job as a journalist after the 2008 financial crisis to pursue her dream of cooking for a living, working in restaurants including Ottolenghi and as a as a recipe developer, before publishing his cookbook, Mamushka, celebrating her family recipes. A Russian food writer, chef, cooking teacher and event curator, Timoshkina moved to the UK to study film history and lecture on Russian and European cinema, before her passion for cooking took her away. led to the creation of a supper-cinema club called KinoVino.

#CookForUkraine aims to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis and raise funds to help children and families displaced by war, as well as provide a platform for Ukrainian families and their supporters to share recipes, as well than the stories behind these dishes. Through the campaign, the duo collaborates with London restaurants to host special dinners and sell specific dishes to raise funds, which are sent to UNICEF to provide on-the-ground support and emergency care to refugee families. Since its inception, the campaign has raised nearly £900,000 to date. Hercules and Timoshkina plan to continue growing the #CookForUkraine campaign, currently working on a hospitality-focused work program for Ukrainian refugees, a cooking school staffed by Ukrainian cooks, and more.

The duo comments: “From the start, Cook for Ukraine was a long-term project for us. While we hope with all our hearts that the war will end soon, our work to raise awareness of the beauty of Ukrainian culinary culture and support those affected by the war will continue. And this magnificent prize is a very important first step towards the creation of a new foundation.”

William DrewContent Director for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “Having launched Champions of Change last year, we are delighted to recognize the incredible work that Dieuveil, Koh Seng, and Olia and Alissa do for their communities. We have the greatest respect for the drive and passion they have shown to create meaningful change and we are honored to be able to support their brilliant work.”

Champions of Change is one of many special awards that will be announced by July, as part of the build-up to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 program of events. These people have used the challenges as a catalyst for action positive and long-term progress, whether it’s helping others, improving the gastronomic sector or providing meaningful support in times of great difficulty.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Pannawill be hosted in London Monday 18and July. An extensive program of events will culminate with this year’s awards ceremony, to be held at Old Billingsgate Market in the City of London.

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About the 50 best restaurants in the world
Since 2002, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has reflected the diversity of the global culinary landscape. The annual list of the world’s most prestigious restaurants provides insight into some of the best destinations for unique dining experiences, as well as being a barometer and pioneer of global dining trends. The 50 Best family also includes Latin America 50 best restaurants, from Asia 50 best restaurants, Middle East & North Africa 50 best restaurants, the 50 best bars in the world, from Asia 50 best bars, North America 50 Best Bars and the #50BestTalks and 50 Best Explores series, all owned and operated by William Roseau. 50 Best aims to bring communities across the hospitality industry together to foster collaboration, inclusivity, diversity and discovery and help drive positive change.

About the main sponsor: S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
SPellegrino and Acqua Panna are the main partners of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and 50 Best for Recovery. SPellegrino and Acqua Panna are the main natural mineral waters in gastronomy. Together they interpret Italian style worldwide as a synthesis of excellence, pleasure and well-being.

Other partners:

  • Estrella Damm – Official beer partner; sponsor of the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award
  • American Express Resy – Official partner of the credit card and reservation platform (Resy); sponsor of the American Express One To Watch Award
  • Gin Mare – Official Gin Partner; sponsor of the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award
  • Flor de Caña – Official Rum Partner; sponsor of the Flor de Caña sustainable restaurant award
  • Sosa – Official Ingredient Partner; sponsor of the prize for the best pastry chef in the world
  • Beronia – Official Wine Partner
  • Nude Glass – Official Glassware Partner; World’s Best Female Chef Award Sponsor
  • Nyetimber – Official Sparkling Wine Partner
  • Licor 43 – Official liquor partner; sponsor of the Licor 43 Icon Award
  • Villa Massa – Official Limoncello and Amaretto Partner; sponsor of the Villa Massa Highest Climber Award
  • Illycaffè – Official coffee partner
  • Cinco Jotas – Official Iberian Ham Partner
  • The London Essence Co. – Official Blender Partner
  • Aspire Lifestyles – Official Concierge Partner; Best New Entry Award Sponsor

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