Celebrating women in the food industry: winners of the 2022 FOOD XX Awards

A total of 19 changemakers were celebrated at the 2022 FOOD XX Awards, in partnership with Spekko Rice. The winners were announced on 30 August in Cape Town. The annual awards ceremony, launched by Studio H in 2019, spotlights the achievements of women in all spheres of the food and hospitality industry, from farming to food styling, education, culinary heritage, and more.

“Once again, we were blown away by the sheer volume of nominations received,” says Hannerie Visser, director and founder of Studio H. “It really reinforced our belief that women are the backbone of the food and hospitality industry. And now, more than ever, we need to take the time to recognise and honour their work.”

How it worked
The winners were those who received the most votes from a pool of over 500 candidates. Nominations were open to the public during the month of August, with the judging performed by an independent panel comprising winners from the previous year, as is customary at the FOOD XX Awards. This year’s panel comprised, among others, Eat Out judge Mokgadi Itsweng, Bathandwa Nkambule, Loubie Rusch, Mmabatho Molefe, Dr Tracy Nelwamondo and Carla Schulze.

Inviting Africa to the table
At the ceremony, Visser announced that the geographical scope of the awards, which until now has been within South Africa’s borders, would be expanded to include the whole of Africa from 2023.

“We understand that national boundaries can create distracting division among a community of women with common challenges and interests,” she explained. “So, we’ve expanded the FOOD XX vision to reflect our commitment to women working with food across the continent.”

To mark this evolution, a newly minted award, Continental Connections, was presented to Ghanian chef Selassie Atadika, chef-patronne at the Accra-based business Midunu. Atadika, who is ranked as one of the top 100 chefs globally, is on a mission to demystify, celebrate and preserve African culinary heritage.

Here is the full list of the 2022 FOOD XX Awards winners:  

Baker: Elmarié Rosochacki, owner of Mondvol Soet.

Drinks (alcoholic): Khanya Mncwabe, founder of Matawi Mead.

Drinks (non-alcoholic): Meghan Werner, founder of Theonista.

Entrepreneur: Wendy Vesela-Ntimbani, founder of Matomani, a company that uses mopani worms to produce a range of sustainable food products.

Farming: Sibongile Gumede, owner of the Bongi G poultry farm near Potchefstroom.

Food Educator: Jenny Ward, chef and culinary lead of the Makers Landing Incubator Programme.

Food Icon: Errieda du Toit, cookbook author, television content producer and custodian of South African food culture.

Food Photography: Ashleigh Frans, Wide Wing photographer.

Food Stylist: Khanya Mzongwana, cookbook author and deputy food editor of Woolworths Taste magazine.

Fresh Voices in Food: Eat Out judge Dr Anna Trapido, journalist and food anthropologist.

Front of House: Hélène Demetriou, co-owner of Olive Branch Deli.

Future Food: Tasneem Karodia, COO and co-founder of Mzansi Meat Co.

Food Heritage: Parusha Naidoo, Afro-Asian illustrator, storyteller, cookbook author and food activist.

Giving Back: Hanneke van Linge, founder of Nosh Food Rescue NPC.

In the Kitchen: Jess van Dyk, chef-owner of Stellenbosch restaurant Post & Pepper.

Secret Ingredient: Zandile Finxa, recipe developer known as “the queen of sorghum”.

Sustainability: Samkelesiwe Chunda, managing director of Sibayeni Metrofarming.

Newcomer: Nabo Binase, celebrator of African food culture and Ukutya co-founder.

“Our winners deserve far more than these titles,” says Visser. “By bringing their creativity, enthusiasm and determination to the table day after day, they are reshaping our relationship not only with food, but with each other. Ultimately, the change they are creating will empower us all.”

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