The World’s 50 Best have announced the winners of the new Champions of Change initiative.

The program is part of 50 Best for Recovery and was introduced to highlight the ‘unsung heroes’ of the hospitality industry who have generated positive change over the past 18 months.

Each recipient will receive a donation to their cause to help support them in the future.

And now, the winners.

Down North Pizza’s Kurt Evans exclusively employs formerly incarcerated individuals at his business, which is a ‘mission-led for-profit restaurant’ in Philadelphia.

He also runs a dinner series named End Mass Incarceration which sees families impacted by incarceration sit down with lawmakers and diners to have a conversation over a meal.

Evans is the co-founder of Everybody Eats Philly, which was started during the pandemic. The collaborative initiative is led by Black chefs who are fighting food insecurity in the city.

His donation will go towards his dining series and providing free meals and essentials to those in need.

Michelin-star Chef Viviana Varese of Viva restaurant in Milan, Italy, is the second figure named as a Champion.

The chef is an LGBTQ+ and inclusivity campaigner, with all her venues employing and supporting staff regardless of gender, race, age or sexuality.

Varese employs and trains farmers over the age of 60 who have lost their jobs and she works closely with suppliers who employ people with disabilities to make crockery for her venues.

Varese opened Viva restaurant this year along with W Villadorata in Sicily. She will also launch a gelataria in Milan which will exclusively recruit and train women who are victims of domestic violence. Her donation will go towards supporting this outlet.

Deepanker Khosla is the final champion, who turned his Bangkok restaurant Haoma into a soup kitchen for those in need.

The chef raised funds through his campaign No One Hungry which saw staff prepare free meals for the homeless and food for themselves and their families.

Khosla was able to retain all staff during the pandemic and received a three-star certification from Food Made Good, with plans for his venue to become zero waste by 2022.

He will use his donation to create a kitchen for No One Hungry which will continue providing meals for thousands of people.

“We are thrilled to recognise Kurt, Viviana and Deepanker with the first Champions of Change awards,” says William Drew, director of content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

“Their passion and fortitude in creating positive change in the hospitality sector is humbling and we can’t wait to see how they will use these donations to further their outstanding projects.”