Four young Indian innovators in the field of gastronomy were recently named in 50 Next, a prestigious list that celebrates next generation leaders who are shaping the future of gastronomy.
The ‘50 Next: Class of 2022’ was announced at a first-ever live awards ceremony in Bilbao, Spain, where they announced the names of the ‘world’s top 50 leaders’ who are creating sustainable solutions for the global food and drink industry.
Among them were Delhi-based forensic scientist Dr Risha Jasmine Nathan, Bengaluru-based chef Vinesh Johny and food innovation researcher Anusha Murthy, and Mumbai-based entrepreneur Nidhi Pant.
They were selected from more than 400 candidates between the ages of 22 and 37, from across 30 territories on six continents.
The categories included ‘empowering educators’, ‘entrepreneurial creatives’, ‘game changing producers’, ‘hospitality pioneers’, ‘science innovators’, ‘tech disruptors’, and ‘trailblazing activists’.
1. Dr Risha Jasmine Nathan
Dr Risha Jasmine Nathan, a forensic scientist from Delhi, made it into the ‘50 Next’ list in the ‘science innovators’ category. She won for her ground-breaking concept of converting fruit and vegetable peels into beads that can suck heavy metals from drinking water, as a solution to tackle the problem of water contamination.
“My goal is to make use of the science of toxicology to work towards the creation of a safer and healthier world,” Nathan told PTI, adding that she is currently researching further on the topic.
Later this year, she will be taking up the role of a lecturer at the Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom.
2. Vinesh Johny
Vinesh Johny, chef and founder of Bengaluru’s Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Arts — India’s first specialised international baking school — made it into the list in the ‘empowering educators’ category.
He got into the culinary sector to do something skill-based rather than academically oriented, and eventually became interested in the art of pastry making.
“Nurturing young talent in our industry by giving them practical and hands-on experiences in the area of culinary arts, baking, pastry making, cooking and even sustainable methods of sourcing produce, is of paramount importance,” he said in conversation with PTI, adding that his primary focus is to provide world-class pastry education for Indian students.
“We had three students in our first batch in 2012. Now, 160 students take our flagship programmes every year,” the 33-year-old told The Deccan Herald.
Vinish was also named in Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ list in 2016, and was also the official mentor for Team India, who won the country’ first silver medal in patisserie at World Skills in 2017.
3. Anusha Murthy and Elizabeth Yorke
Anusha Murthy (30) and co-creator Elizabeth Yorke (29), who won under the ‘empowering educators’ category, created ‘Edible Issues’. It is a food collective that focuses on fostering thought and conversations around the Indian food system through community engagement and workshops.
Through an online newsletter, and by conducting meetups, workshops, cook-alongs, zines, and playlists, the duo are on a mission to encourage people to talk about food diversity and mindful food behaviours.
“An underrated tool to shape a sustainable food culture is developing the confidence to cook more at home,” said Anusha in a conversation with The Deccan Herald.
An engineer by profession, she is currently part of a company working on building a cooking robot. Meanwhile, Elizabeth, a trained chef, is engaged in upcycling spent grain from Bengaluru breweries into flour.
4. Nidhi Pant
Nidhi Pant, co-founder of S4S Technologies, was selected under the ‘trailblazing activists’ category.
A chemical engineer-turned-entrepreneur, she launched her initiative alongside her peers Ganesh Bhere, Tushar Gaware, Swapnil Kotate, Shital Somani, and Ashwin Pawade, in 2014.
S4S, which stands for ‘Science for Society’, was formed to tackle issues faced by farmers and the food and beverage industry. They created solar conduction dryers (SCDs) — solar-powered machines that dehydrate food and preserve produce for up to one year, without chemicals or preservatives, thereby helping the preservation of crop yields.
Her organisation also works with over 800 landless women farmers and trains them in micro-entrepreneurship.
Other than the four Indian innovators, Travinder Singh, an Indian-origin from Singapore and founder of the Crust Group also made it to the list under the category of entrepreneurial creative. Crust brews artisan beers using leftover food items like bread, as well as coffee, tea, etc.
They also have a line of non-alcoholic drinks named Crop made from fruit and vegetable waste.
“I’m a Punjabi in Singapore, which is a very small minority. I guess being from that background helped me become a lot more adaptable to different situations and scenarios,” Travinder Singh told PTI.
4 Indian innovators in world’s top ’50 Next’ gastronomy gamechangers list by Aditi Khanna; published by The Print on 25 June 2022.
3 Bengalureans on global list of food educators by Barkha Kumari; published by The Deccan Herald on 7 July 2022.
3 Singaporeans honoured for contributions to food sustainability in global 50 Next gastronomy list published by CNA Lifestyle.
50 Next – Meet the people shaping the future of gastronomy.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)