The S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition is nearly upon us. Now in its 11th year the program has helped promote culinary students with strong mentorship from chefs and industry insiders from all over the world. Thousands of students have entered the competition with over 300 top chefs lending their help to nurture and encourage growth in the culinary industry across North America.
This year will see Top Chef Masters finalist and winner of the Best Chef Midwest title at the James Beard Awards 2005 Tony Mantuano become part of the competition, offering his valuable services as a mentor alongside Rick Moonen, Susur Lee, Mark McEwan and Chef Joho.
The competition begins January 14th and continues through to February - with hundreds of culinary students across North America preparing and presenting their very own signature dishes in the hopes they'll be chosen as the winner of their heat. Winners from around 75 different culinary schools will eventually go on to the final competition in Napa Valley in March - each in with a chance of winning over $20,000 and a one-year paid internship with a celebrity chef.
Speaking about the competition and the close mentorship that it provides Chef Mantuano said: "We need more mentorship opportunities outside of educational institutes to guide and lend knowledge to our next generation of culinary legends."
And no worries for those not lucky enough to get the opportunity to take part, this year people at home will be encouraged to share their own signature dishes on S.Pellegrino Facebook page in a sweepstake called the Claim to Almost Fame.
The 2012 Almost Famous Chef winner was Jennifer Kim of Kendall College in Chicago.