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'Activist chef' Joshna Maharaj cooks up societal change

This coming Monday, the winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize will be announced — and Canada's own Joshna Maharaj is in the running.
Toronto-based chef and activist Joshna Maharaj. (Supplied)
Listen9:02

It's been called the Nobel peace prize of food.

This coming Monday, the winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize will be announced — but the $140,000 dollar accolade does not cater to celebrity chefs with luxurious cooking shows.

The nominees are all working toward the goal of social justice, through food.

Today Toronto-based chef and activist Joshna Maharaj, the sole Canadian in the running, joins guest host Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss the joys and difficulties of culinary change-making, how her time in an ashram fed into her activism, and why she wants to bring quality to food to ordinary institutions. 

"I really don't understand why we've decided that feeding patients and students terrible food is okay," says Maharaj, who felt compelled to choose good over glamour. 

"For sure there were no crisp, white jackets down the road I was headed." 

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