Rene Redzepi’s international food conference MAD Symposium invites the top minds in the culinary world to discuss issues from creativity to sustainability — academics, chefs, advocates — but today they made a shockingly adorable announcement: at this year’s Symposium in August, a ten-year-old will get her own speaking slot.
Last year, Martha Payne made waves around the world by exposing the failures of the UK school lunch system, gaining love from Jamie Oliver through her blog NeverSeconds. What started as a school project chronicling the sad lunches served in her school cafeteria (e.g. one slice of pizza, a potato croquette, a few corn kernels, and a cupcake) eventually ballooned into a blog with millions of viewers per day, to the point that her school ordered her to stop embarrassing them with her photos of their wholly inadequate school lunches.
Though the school board eventually overturned their decision after a massive public backlash, Payne continued to use her blog to highlight children’s lunches throughout the world — including children who weren’t lucky to eat lunch. “I decided the best thing was to write about [the nonprofit organization] Mary’s Meals and try and raise some money to build a school kitchen in Malawi,” she said in an interview. “When my blog was banned it was terrible but I was very happy that people supported me by making lots of donations.”
In short, if there were any ten-year-old who was worthy of speaking at an international conference next to Roy Choi and badass Alex Atala, it would be Payne.
9-Year-Old Scottish Food Blogger Refuses To Sell Out, Builds Kitchen in Africa Instead
UPDATE: Jay Rayner Blasts Scottish School Council For Martha Payne’s Food Blog Ban, Council Overturns Decision
Jamie Oliver’s Favorite 9-Year Old Food Blogger Shut Down By School Officials
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