These Changemakers Are Tackling Issues of Sustainability and Equity in the Food and Wine World

A sustainably sourced New York sushi restaurant and the CEO of South Africa's only fully Black-owned winery are reshaping what's possible in the food industry.

A diner at Rosella, in New York City's East Village
A diner at Rosella, in New York City's East Village. Photo:

Dina Litovsky/Redux

The Travel + Leisure Global Vision Awards aim to identify and honor companies, individuals, destinations, and organizations that are taking strides to develop more sustainable and responsible travel products, practices, and experiences. Not only are they demonstrating thought leadership and creative problem-solving; they are taking actionable, quantifiable steps to protect communities and environments around the world. What's more, they are inspiring their industry colleagues and travelers to do their part.

Creating sustainable change in the food and beverage industry often requires starting from the ground up — or, in some cases, the ocean. To keep up with consumer tastes and demand for certain ingredients, restaurants may find themselves sourcing products from halfway around the world, especially when it comes to prized seafood. That way of operating stresses not only the buyers’ budgets, but the environment’s resources, which is why New York City’s Rosella is looking closer to home when it comes to procuring fish for its sushi. The disparities that exist on the human side of the industry can be just as troubling — an issue Paul Siguqa is all too familiar with as the owner and CEO of South Africa’s only fully Black-owned winery. In both instances, these thought-leaders are carving out new paths forward for food and drink professionals, showing both their colleagues and travelers what can be accomplished when the status quo is challenged. — T+L Editors

Five pieces of nigiri on a wooden serving platter
Sustainably sourced nigiri at the New York City restaurant Rosella.

Adam Friedlander/Courtesy of Rosella


If you eat high-grade sushi in the U.S., there’s at least a 70 percent chance the fish on your plate was imported, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But Rosella, a 22-seat sushi restaurant that opened in New York City’s East Village in 2020, isn’t importing any fish at all. Chef Jeff Miller, who owns the place with business partner TJ Provenzano, is obsessed with sustainable sourcing, relying on data from Seafood Watch and NOAA to make informed choices about what to serve.

The result is a menu that merges Japanese traditions and locally available products — approximately 95 percent of the sushi comes from the East Coast. “We source porgy and bluefish as much as possible,” Miller says. “They’re exemplary fish that both make great sushi.”

Miller believes the key to change lies in leading by experience. “We want to create a fun environment where people know exactly what they’re eating — and enjoy it,” he says.

Pair of photos showing winemaker Paul Siquqa, and a bottle of red wine with glasses
From left: Paul Siguqa at his Klein Goederust winery; a Klein Goederust shiraz.

From left: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images; Courtesy of Klein Goederust

Paul Siguqa

Winery CEO Paul Siguqa grew up watching his mother, Nomaroma Siguqa, work as a laborer in South Africa’s Winelands, first among the vines and later in the cellar. “I used to hate the idea of working on a farm, because normally Black people are the labor while white people are the landowners,” Siguqa says. According to a report by the trade organization Vinpro, Black people constitute roughly 80 percent of South Africa’s population, yet own just 2.5 percent of the country’s vineyard acreage.

Siguqa’s passion for wine slowly grew over time. He got his first college job at a winery and saved funds for 15 years while working in corporate media. “I always wanted to come home to the Winelands,” he says. In 2019 — 28 years after the fall of apartheid — Siguqa bought a 25-acre estate in the Franschhoek region and, within two years, had transformed it into Klein Goederust, the first fully Black-owned winery in the country. Today the property has a tasting room and fine-dining restaurant amid thriving vines of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Siguqa now uses his role as CEO to help others in the industry, mentoring Black youth from the Pinotage Youth Development Academy, which provides skills development and work placement. “The narrative I hope we can achieve with this vineyard is to show what’s possible,” Siguqa says. “The tide is changing.”

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