World Gourmet Awards 2021 Celebrates Culinary Leaders Despite the Pandemic
The World Gourmet Awards (WGA) 2021 adopted a hybrid format incorporating both physical and online elements for the event.
(Singapore, 25 May 2021) If you are familiar with the World Gourmet Summit and the World Gourmet Awards you know the excitement that surrounds the events. Covid-19 and the lockdown allowed for only a Virtual Awards event in 2020 as no large gatherings were allowed. With easing restrictions live events are now allowed, which is a move in the right direction, as Peter Knipp, Founder, World Gourmet Summit (pictured right) stated in his Opening Address.
Standing at the podium in the ballroom of One Farrer Hotel that was only partially filled, Mr Knipp acknowledged, “Well, at least its something.” He clearly had in mind how the ballroom was two years ago – packed with people from the food and hotel and hospitality industry, swarming with local media and from around the world, creating an energetic atmosphere that had built from the first Awards event 21 years ago and the inauguration of WGS 25 years ago.
One of the enjoyments of the previous 25 years was Peter Knipp’s opening address on Opening Night of WGS to a packed room of politicians, businessmen, restaurant owners, chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, wine producers and distributors and wine critics, hospitality staff, bartenders, food critics, bloggers, food photographers, mainstream media and every friend that could get an invite to one of the most prestigious, glamourous and filling events of the year. There were always the greatest canapés and such a wide variety of drinks. Tapas, fusion food and cheese. One year they had over 120 varieties of cheese – I tried to sample every one of them. All these years later I don’t think my system has fully recovered.
And drifting through that gathering there was not a single person you could talk with who wasn’t interesting – if not amazing, some of the most renowned celebrity chefs in the world have attended. What a gathering it was. So many different nationalities and languages spoken, so many cultures and cuisines represented.
For us who knew how exciting past events were, the subdued room was a reminder of years gone by. When Mr Knipp said, “What a huge crowd we have here,” his voice was heavy with irony.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the signature event adopted a hybrid format. It was held between 17 - 19 May on Facebook live, and followed by an intimate trophy ceremony to celebrate the award recipients on July 5, 2021. The event at One Farrer was broken into two sessions to meet with Covid-19 rules. They couldn’t even serve water.
Despite the current pandemic, The Awards, highly regarded as one of Singapore's most esteemed accolades in the culinary world, returned to discover and celebrate new outstanding talents from the food and hospitality industry. The 21st edition took place with the theme ‘Remastered’, which celebrates both the past winners as well as future generations who are ready to make their mark on this industry.
“Today, the F&B Industry is still doing its best to survive despite much of Singapore being locked down due to Covid-19. As a result, people are scared about what will happen in their future but there's nothing stopping these 36 award recipients this year from proving that hard work does indeed pay off,” said Mr Knipp.
Honoured guests at the Awards were Dr Tan Chin Nam (Former Chief Executive at Singapore Tourism Board), Counsellor Joanna Dopierała-Konkołowicz (pictured right and below) of the Polish Embassy, Chef Dave Pynt from BurntEnds and Mr Gilbert Madhavan (GM One Farrer Hotel).
Counsellor Joanna Dopierała-Konkołowicz informed the gathering that Poland’s export of food to Singapore doubled in 2020. Meat, eggs, and seafood made their way from Europe to this island nation – and that included 100 million eggs. Why? Poland has the processing capacity and the ability to export as they have been doing for years to their EU partners. Poland stepped up when other countries couldn’t deliver.
In an exclusive interview with Mr Knipp after the awards had been presented, he explained their importance. “The people who receive them are delighted. They are over the moon. It means a great deal to them to be recognized for what they do.
“It is equally important to the companies that sponsor these awards. When I was young, I received an award from Nestle. I followed Nestle for the rest of my career. It is brand building, it is creating bonds between people in the industry.”
Some of the awards presented were the Lifetime Achievements, the USA Rice Federation Chef Mentor / Apprentice of the Year as well as the addition of new members to their coveted Hall of Fame.
Notable achievements include:
1) Chef Aziza Ali (Indoguna Singapore Lifetime Achievement Award)
Chef Aziza Ali is known for her elegant Singaporean dishes and the rich tastes of Malay cuisine. She has pioneered bringing Malay Cuisine into the fine dining industry.
2) Helene Raudaschl (Allspice Lifetime Achievement Award)
For many, a passion remains just that – a passion. Not so for Ms Helene Raudaschl, who has successfully turned her passion for food into a thriving business in both the food service and retail sector.
3) Chef Benton Toh (USA Rice Federation Chef Mentor of the Year)
Passionate about his craft, Chef Benton is a mentor to many local chefs within Singapore's finest culinary schools.
4) Spa Esprit Group (MEIKO GREEN Waste Solutions Green Initiative Award)
One of the biggest steps towards making F&B industries aware is their founding of the F&B sustainability council last year. Being the first of its kind in Singapore, the council was recently formed to tackle environmental issues in the industry. This also makes them an important voice in sustainability practices.
5) Oliver Truesdale Jutras - Open Farm Community (Q Industries Green Initiative Award (Individual))
Open Farm Community's food mileage is among the lowest in the city. They buy goods from local sources to keep money within Singapore’s economy, and their overall impact is much less than any other operation in any other brand they know of in Singapore.
For more information on the Awards go to https://www.wgsawards.com/
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