Japanese chef Keita Yuge was crowned the Master of Pasta 2019 following an adrenaline-charged competition at the Barilla Pasta World Championship inside the Pavillon Cambon in Paris on 10 and 11 October.
For two days the city of light became the world capital of pasta celebrating the most iconic ingredient in Italian cuisine: This eighth edition also marked the first time that the famous world pasta championship, organized by Barilla, had taken place outside of Italy and formed part of the celebrations of Barilla France's 50th anniversary.
For two emotionally charged days, full of surprises and tastings, fourteen chefs from around the world challenged themselves with spaghetti, fusilli, penne etc., to win the title of world pasta champion and prove that, despite pasta's Italian origins, it's a universal ingredient that can adapt to a thousand different reinterpretations as well as being elevated to a work of art.
The Art of Pasta
Art has always been in the Barilla DNA. For two days, the Cambon Pavilion, located in the heart of the capital, was transformed into a "temple of pasta": an ephemeral art gallery designed by the Italian artist Olimpia Zagnoli, who created a sublime fusion of art, music, amidst the backdrop of live-cooking and pasta for the sensorial pleasure of the gathered foodies, influencers and art lovers.
Inspired by the theme of this year's "The art of pasta", each of the competing chefs prepared a signature dish, a "Masterpiece", that demonstrated how culinary expertise and creativity can turn the everyday ingredient into a work of art.
A Trio of Pasta Challenges
The participating chefs were challenged with three culinary tests during the two day competition, each evaluated by an exceptional jury: Davide Oldani, Italian Michelin starred chef from D'O restaurant in Milan and ambassador Barilla, Simone Zanoni, chef at Le George restaurant in Paris and chef Amandine Chaignot, who will soon open the Pouliche restaurant in Paris, after having been Executive Chef of the Rosewood Hotel in London. Alongside them, judging the aesthetics of the dishes were, Ashley Alexander, Australian photographer, and Paola Navone, architect and Italian designer of international fame.
The event had two exceptional guests: Stéphane Rotenberg, famous presenter of culinary shows, and Lorenzo Cogo, the young Michelin starred Italian chef at the El Coq restaurant in Vicenza (Italy).
On the first day of the competition, the 14 chefs presented their "Chef d' Ouvre", their signature dish designed especially for this edition of the contest. At the conclusion of the first day, just eight chefs were selected 8 to go through to the next round of the competition, "La Toile Blanche": where the chefs were invited to prepare a recipe combining creativity and well-being, by cooking the Barilla pasta ranges Better For You.
At the end of the second event, the final cut was made with the remaining chefs able to access the last phase of the competition, "The Grand Finale", which saw each chef reinterpret their signature dish, elevating them with an unexpected touch and taking into account the jury's remarks given during the initial test.
Amandine and Pasta
What happens when a great French chef like Amandine Chaignot turns her hand to pasta? The chef, well known for her fresh and spontaneous French cuisine, was the protagonist of a fun show-cooking session, alongside Lorenzo Cogo.
"I think of pasta like a blank canvas that every chef can use in different ways." at ease behind the stove, she chose the Lasagnette Collezione Gourmet for her dish, served with langoustines and smoked pike eggs. The secret of her dish? Finger limes from Australia, for that touch of acidity ... so loved by Davide Oldani!
And the Winner is...
Keita Yuge's "penne Gorgonzola profumo Giapponese" dish saw the Japanese chef become the 2019 Master of Pasta, taking the baton from Carolina Diaz, the first woman to win the title in 2018, with her version of a classic Italian dish, "spaghetti al pomodoro".