“What is Plant-Forward?”

Champions of seasonal flavors. Vegetable-centric. Vegetarian tasting menus. Elevating plant protein. Farm-to-table. Chefs as farmers. Innovative blends of animal protein with plant flavors. Advocates of heirloom and indigenous varieties of produce, grains, and other plant-based foods. 

“Plant-forward” can describe a chef’s personal approach to his or her food and cooking as well as a larger, collective expression of healthier, more sustainable food choices and menus. Increasingly, it is where the aspirations of chefs and their customers for change converge. It is about inclusiveness, expanding choices, and fostering innovation. At its best, we can define it as: 

‘A style of cooking and eating that emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant-based foods—including fruits and vegetables; whole grains; beans, other legumes, and soy foods; nuts and seeds; plant oils; and herbs and spices—and that reflects evidence-based principles of health and sustainability.’

About the List

The Plant-Forward Global 50 list recognizes significant achievement in rethinking menus and traditional restaurant concepts that reflect the critical role that culinary insight and the relentless pursuit of deliciousness play in advancing health and sustainability concerns. It also acknowledges that chefs are business leaders who must sustain the interests and preferences of their customers, along with profitability.  

The list highlights professional, commercial kitchens throughout the world, both upscale and casual, encompassing: 
• Restaurants and menus distinguished for elevating the role and visibility of produce, plant proteins, and other plant-based flavors, but which are not vegetarian or vegan
• Restaurants and menus that are vegetarian or vegan

The CIA and EAT also developed a companion list of top English-language cookbooks that celebrate plant-forward flavors representing various countries and food cultures, from vegan and vegetarian dishes to produce-centric flavors that are not vegetarian or vegan. Please see the Cookbooks tab.

Selection Process

The individuals honored on the Plant-Forward Global 50 list are leaders and innovators who raise the visibility and status of vegetables, plant proteins, and other plant-based ingredients and flavors in their restaurants and in their respective spheres of influence. It was curated by the CIA in collaboration with EAT from nearly 200 invited nominations submitted by a network of chefs, journalists, NGOs, academics, food business executives, and other food trend analysts and culinary experts around the globe. 
The Plant-Forward Global 50 includes chefs who emphasize invention and creativity in their operations as well as those who champion the preservation and adaptation of traditional, culturally rooted plant-forward flavors. The list acknowledges chefs who demonstrate excellence of concept, technique, flavor development, and the design of the overall food experience. Finally, it includes chefs who are established leaders as well as younger innovators doing important, often pioneering work. 

The selection process for the Plant-Forward Global 50 and EAT Global Culinary Awards was a rigorous, year-long, multinational effort. The selection criteria for assessing the nominees were: 
• Must be a chef, executive chef, or chef/owner of a restaurant;
• Demonstrate creativity, innovation, and leadership in helping the dining public, other chefs, and the restaurant sector at large embrace pathways of change; 
• Make meaningful contributions to advancing public health and environmental sustainability as reflected in the Menus of Change Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus and;
• Be a master of flavor, sensory appeal of cuisine, and the culinary experience for diners.

Who else should be on this list? 

It is our intention to expand this list in the coming months and years. We want to hear from you about influential chefs who you think deserve wider recognition for their contributions towards advancing healthier, more sustainable, and delicious plant-forward flavors. Please write to us at nat@eatforum.org

About the Organizations Behind the Plant-Forward Global 50 

About EAT Foundation 
EAT is an international foundation linking food, health and sustainable development across science, business and policy. Originally launched three years ago, EAT is now an independent foundation with three core partners: The Stordalen Foundation, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Wellcome Trust. The overall objective of EAT is to expand scientific knowledge on the interconnections between food, health and environmental sustainability, spur innovation along the food value chain, and facilitate the development of evidence-based policies to radically transform the global food system to be able to deliver healthy, affordable diets to a growing world population within the planetary boundaries. For more information, visit http://eatforum.org/.

About The Culinary Institute of America

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry in the areas of health and wellness, sustainability, world cuisines and cultures, and professional excellence and innovation. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its worldwide network of 49,000 alumni includes leaders in every area of foodservice and hospitality. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore. For more information, visit www.ciachef.edu.

Menus of Change

The integration of food and culinary strategies and related scientific evidence supporting this Plant-Forward Global 50 initiative are an outgrowth of Menus of Change, a joint collaboration between the CIA and the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. For more information, please visit the Menus of Change Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus.

June Conferences: EAT Stockholm Food Forum and Menus of Change

The Plant-Forward Global 50 list was presented at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in Stockholm, Sweden on June 12 in conjunction with the First Annual EAT Global Culinary Awards being organized in collaboration with the CIA and based on health and sustainability principles embodied in the Menus of Change initiative.

The Plant-Forward Global 50 list was also a highlight of the 5th Annual Menus of Change Leadership Summit at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY on June 20.