Sierra Leonean-born Chef, Fatmata Binta has made history as the first West African Chef to win the coveted Basque Culinary World Prize.
Binta, 37, who is based in Ghana received the award at a Live Broadcast event held in San Sebastian, Basque Country on Wednesday, November, 15th 2022.
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Selected out of 1,000 nominations and 700 candidates, the proud Fulani Chef also received a $105,000 prize 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 a press release, the BCWP said, Binta not only makes her dishes for “guests of the world,” but she also prepares them for the communities from which these cuisines originate, presenting them as food that brings peace.
The West African chef shared the news on her Instagram amidst congratulatory messages from friends, industry mates and family. She wrote:
“With this, she sends the message to the world that sustainability must be the norm and not something exceptional, based on common sense, reinforcing female empowerment, and the matriarchal base of these communities,” Joan Roca, president of the BCWP jury, said in a statement.
In an initial post when the prize was first announced in June 2022, Binta shared that she was thankful and imitated that the award will empower women to reach their highest potential.
“I want to thank Basque Culinary World Prize for this award. This is such an honour not just for me but for all of the women that will be empowered and inspired to reach their highest potential and this will also shed light on the challenges but most importantly bring about solutions for women. Thank you for contributing towards a solution that will bring about change for a better community and a better world. We can no longer afford to deny the full potential of women. The world needs to tap into the talent and wisdom of women. Whether the issue is food security, economic recovery or peace, the participation of women is needed now more than ever,” she added.
Binta is also the founder of the Fulani Kitchen Foundation, an NGO helping to empower Fulani women and girls by meeting their social, educational, and economic needs through interactive dinner experiences. According to the organization, it has taken care of more than 300 families from 12 communities across four regions in Ghana.