Sierra Leonean chef Fatmata Binta is the 1st African to win the 2022 Basque Culinary World Prize with $105,000. The Basque Culinary World Prize is an international achievement award given to a chef from anywhere in the world who has made outstanding contributions to society through gastronomy. Gastronomy is the study of food and culture, focusing on fine dining. The BCWP is a gastronomic celebration aiming to promote progress and transformation in areas ranging from social innovation to food education. This year’s awards focus on Africa and its opportunities to develop through cooking, the circular economy, culinary knowledge, and preserving communities’ traditions.
Fatmata Binta, a Sierra Leonean chef, based in Ghana, popularized Fulani culture and cuisine. The Fulani are nomadic pastoralists in West Africa. She believes culinary culture should include:
• Meeting new people.
• Enhancing food security.
• Strengthening cultural identity.
• Closing the societal divide.
• Creating positive change.
She was selected for the impact her ‘Dine on a Mat’ pop-up initiative created on her community and beyond. Fatmata established the Fulani Kitchen Foundation to fund community projects through interactive dinner experiences. Its purpose is to address social, educational, and economic needs. Her $105,000 prize has already benefited over 300 families in 12 communities and four regions in Ghana.