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West African chef Fatmata Binta wins Basque Culinary World Prize 2022

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West African chef Fatmata wins the €100,000 prize – an award for chefs around the world who are utilizing their talent and creativity to create positive change – for empowering African women and their communities and exploring the diaspora of West African cuisine.

Binta was chosen from more than 1,000 nominations across the globe for an award often referred to as the ‘Nobel of Gastronomy’. 

In addition to Binta, the jury has recognized the work of two other chefs, awarding special mentions to:

  • Douglas McMaster (UK) for his continuous dedication to the zero-waste movement in gastronomy and his pioneering initiative the “Zero Waste Cooking School”.
  • Edson Leite (Brazil) for focusing on poverty-ridden areas in Brazil and designing culinary training programs and support tailored to serve young people looking for job opportunities through his educational project “Gastronomia Periférica”.

About the winner

Originally from Sierra Leone and now based in Ghana, Fatmata Binta’s ‘Dine on a Mat’ initiative – a nomadic pop-up restaurant – has shared the cuisine of the Fulani tribe (the largest nomadic tribe in Africa with more than 20 million people) across three continents and provided an immersive experience in the ways of eating and interacting with the food of the Fulani.

She also established the Fulani Kitchen Foundation which has empowered women and remote communities in particular.   Its aim is to meet social, educational and community needs as well as transform traditional ingredients and recipes from remote groups of Fulani into sources of income, economic autonomy, food security and employability.  The initiative currently benefits more than 300 families from 12 communities as well as four regions of Ghana.

About the Basque Culinary World Prize

The Basque Culinary World Prize is a unique €100,000 award for chefs around the world whose work has transformed society through gastronomy.  The award – created in 2016 by the Basque Government and the Basque Culinary Center, a leading academic institution in gastronony – honours chefs who are utilising their talent and creativity to create positive change.  The winner is chosen by a jury made up of the world’s most influential chefs, chaired by chef Joan Roca.

West African chef Fatmata Binta has won the Basque Culinary World Prize 2022 for showcasing the sustainable nomadic culinary culture and exploring the diaspora of West African cuisine through her innovative “Dine on a Mat” pop-up initiative.

In its 7th edition, the BCWP has selected Chef Fatmata Binta who embodies the importance of protecting and showcasing heritage in gastronomy and special mentions that have offered inspiring proposals on the power of sustainable thinking and using education in combating poverty.

The selection was carried out by the BCWP jury made up of the members of the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center in Girona. The jury is chaired by chef Joan Roca and made up of some of the most influential chefs in the world.

“Chef Binta proposes a self-sufficient approach with profits which are reinvested in the community and form the seed of a project that can grow on its own. It does not depend on goodwill but on work. Binta is someone who was born and returned to Africa, who left and returned with economically sustainable solutions. She lives there and those changes everything. It’s a virtuous thing.”

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