Rafael Rincón, a social gastronomy pioneer based in Chile,has won the Icon Award 2022 with Volvo ahead of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants' red-carpet awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, which will take place in Mérida, Yucatán, on 15 November.
The award recognises Rincón’s commitment to promoting a social gastronomy movement in Chile and beyond, by building on the inclusive nature of cuisine and community.
Shortly after Rincón's arrivalin Chile from Madrid in 2005, he founded Fundación Gastronomía Social. The non-profit organisation offers current and future hospitality workers, entrepreneurs, companies, and academics access to training in environmental, social and health awareness, as well as promoting food safety, social inclusion and environmental sustainability through its programmes and initiatives.
“We believe that gastronomy is a universal language with incredible power to change society by working with communities – not only for them. I am humbled to be recognised by the industry and excited to share our success story with the world, proving that we can truly change the world by eating,” says Rincón of the organsiation.
During the pandemic he founded Comida Para Todos Chile, a solidarity network that helped feed hungry communities and support restaurants during a very uncertain time - an initiative still active in Chile, Spain and Peru, and one which was also replicated in Ecuador and Argentina during the pandemic.
In addition, he is also the organiser of Ñam - Chile’s biggest annual culinary festival, which has been held since 2011 - and celebrates Chilean and Ibero-American food heritage, a concept replicated in Bolivia since 2019.
"Through his non-profit work, he has demonstrated that with collaboration and education, food can have an immediate effect on society and the planet," said Willian Drew, director of content for Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, of Rincón's achievement.
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