The World’s 50 Best unveils the second edition of 50 Next, an awards list that features young individuals who have contributed to the world of food and drink, and considers them the next-generation of industry leaders with ongoing potential to drive significant and positive change. The unranked list is designed to be inclusive and takes a wider look at gastronomy, recognising producers, scientists, tech creators, educators, activists and more in seven categories: Gamechanging Producers; Tech Disruptors; Empowering Educators; Entrepreneurial Creatives; Science Innovators; Hospitality Pioneers and Trailblazing Activists.
50 Next celebrates the achievements of individuals aged 35 and under, but also considers those over 35 who have recently started a new career. More than 400 candidates were considered from this year's applications and nominations by 50 Next’s academic partner, the Basque Culinary Center, before the list was announced at the first-ever live event held at the Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao, Basque Country.
The 2022 class includes a wide range of inspiring innovators, aged 22 to 37, from 30 different territories across six continents. 13 entries come from Asia, with a total of 16 honourees spanning Singapore, Malaysia, Taipei, Thailand, Indonesia, India, mainland China, and Hong Kong. The list also highlights the countries of origin as some individuals have left their home countries to reside elsewhere. Ahead, we take a look at the young people from Asia driving change in gastronomy.
Jessica Fong, Hong Kong
Fong, who is also a Tastemaker in Tatler’s series of Asia’s Most Influential 2021, established Common Farms—a vertical farm in Aberdeen that uses technology to create optimal climate conditions indoors without generating unnecessary waste, food miles or the need for pesticides. It produces ten times more crops per square foot than a traditional farm. The farm grows a variety of fresh produce including low-carbon footprint microgreens, edible flowers, and speciality herbs all year round and supplies these to restaurants across Hong Kong.
Dharath Hoonchamlong, Bangkok, Thailand
The zero-waste educator fought food waste by using surplus ingredients and by-products for cocktails at the Wasteland bar (which was located inside Thai restaurant Bo.Lan). However, the pandemic forced the business to pivot and Wasteland began making craft soda using cacao husks and whole citrus fruits instead. As a public speaker and consultant, Hoonchamlong also works to spread the sustainability message to students, researchers, farmers and chefs.
Yu Hsuan Cheng, Taipei
Cheng is a chocolatier committed to sharing Taiwanese culture with the world while showcasing the potential of its flavours and ingredients including longan fruits, calamansi, jasmine flowers and maqaw pepper. His business, Yu Chocolatier, has not only seen success in Taipei but it has also won accolades across the globe and is the first Taiwanese chocolate brand to be invited to the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.