S.Pellegrino is excited to announce the names of the 21 young chef finalists selected to compete in the Grand Finale of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018.
21 of the world’s finest young chefs will continue on their amazing adventures in the global talent search to find the best young chef in the world.
Each of these handpicked young chefs has already cooked their way to victory in the demanding phase of the S.Pellegrino Local Competitions 2017, where they defeated nine other semi-finalists by wowing the judges with their chosen signature dishes.
The Young Chef and Mentor Role
The young chef finalists have each been assigned a professional chef mentor to guide, tutor, support and encourage them in the months leading up to the Grand Finale, allowing them to develop their skills in line with the challenge that lies ahead.
While the chefs will not be allowed to change the main ingredients in their signature dishes, they will be able to refine and perfect their recipes, technique, plating and presentation skills in order to best explain the story behind their dishes at the Grand Finale.
These are the young chef finalists that will take their skills to the next level along with drive, determination, talent and vision to represent their regions and have their cooking skills judged by some of the world’s best chefs on an international platform.
The Grand Finale
In May 2018 the 21 finalists from around the world will head to Milan, Italy accompanied by their chef mentors, where they will gather in preparation for the prestigious Grand Finale.
During a charged week of competition, friendships will be forged, invaluable personal and professional experiences had and memories made. Each of the young chefs will enjoy invaluable professional exposure at a local and international level.
In front of world class chefs, peers, friends, family, and the media, the young chefs will face off as they cook competitively to impress the Seven Sages. The panel of esteemed chef judges will select just one young chef to be crowned the best young chef in the world, taking the ultimate title of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018.
See the 21 finalists below, find out where they are from and discover the signature dishes that saw them crowned the best chefs in their regions.
Check back with us in the coming months, as we chat to each about how they are preparing for the Grand Finale.
Africa and Middle East
Chef VusumuziNdlovu from the Marabi Jazz Club in Johannesburg, South Africa, will represent Africa and the Middle East with his duck signature dish entitled ‘Isicupho.’ Ndlovu will continue his journey with fellow Johannesburg resident and mentor chef Marthinus Ferreira from DW eleven-13 restaurant.
Frederic Chastro of Sōma's restaurant in Antwerpwill represent Benelux with his winning dish of Belgian rabbit roll, offal and brain, with organic endives and a rich sauce based on dark beer. 'The Godfather of Belgian Cuisine,’ chef Peter Goossens, will guide him on his journey up to and including the Grand Finale.
Benjamin Mauroy-Langlais, chef de cuisine from Le Mousso in Montréalwill represent Canada with his winning dish of smoked eel and celeriac entitled ‘Spring in Kamouraska.’ Chef Riccardo Bertolino from Maison Boulud, Montréal, will tutor him in the months leading up to the Grand Finale.
Oscar Segundo, chef at Ajumú restaurant in Guadalajara, Jalisco will represent the region with his rabbit signature dish entitled ‘Barbacoa and ceniza inspired by the ‘barbacoa de hoyo’ cooking method, an ancestral process still practiced in Mexico. His chef mentor, Mikel Alonso, from Biko restaurant in Mexico, will help him train for the Grand Finale over the coming months. Together they will perfect Segundo's dish and build his confidence ahead of the final challenge when he will face off against 20 other finalists with the hope of impressing the Seven Sages.
Chanwai Poonwill represent China at the Grand Finale in Milan next year. The chef from Aurora restaurant in Shanghai won the regional final with his signature dish entitled ‘Childhood’ – pan-seared red mullet with texture of beetroot and shellfish sauce. Chef Jacqueline Qiu, a trailblazer in the local food and beverage industry, will help him prepare him for the final competition.
Marcin Popielarz, the chef from the White Rabbit restaurant in Gdansk, defeated nine other semi-finalists with his winning signature dish of ‘Smoked halibut with cucumber and dill.’ Chef Wojciech Modest Amaro, also from Poland, who owns restaurant Atelier Amaro, will be his ally in the challenge ahead.
Antonio Buono, a chef at the two-Michelin-starred Mirazur restaurant in Menton, France, will have the opportunity to present his winning signature dish of Mediterranean scorpion fish, black rouille, rhubarb, wild celery and mountain flowers at the Grand Finale. Three-Michelin-star chef Frédéric Anton will be the official mentor of the young winner.
German chef, Falko Weiß is the best chef in the Germany and Austria region with his signature dish of stewed pork belly, crawfish and tea time fond, entitled ‘City/Land/River.’ The young chef from restaurant à la Minute in Trier, Germany will henceforth have the benefit of advice and mentorship from Karlheinz Hauser up until the Grand Finale.
Edoardo Fumagalli from La Locanda Del Notaio in Pellio Intelvi, Italy, is the Italy finalist at S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 with his signature dish of ‘Carabinieri shrimp, frosted sweetbreads, crispy algae and aromatic salad.’ He will prepare for the Grand Finale together with two-Michelin-starred chef Anthony Genovese, from restaurant Il Pagliaccio in Rome.
Yasuhiro Fujio from restaurant La Cime in Osakaemerged victorious in the Japan local competition with his signature dish ‘Across the Sea,’ featuring Japanese ‘Ayu’ fish. Fujio will be accompanied to Milan by chef mentor Luca Fantin, from Ginza Tower, the only Michelin-starred Italian chef In Tokyo and Japan.
Constadina Voulgari from Greece will cook for the Mediterranean Countries thanks to her winning sous vide signature partridge dish: ‘Ellinon Gefsis’ with mousseline pastinacas, wild root and salad. Greek Chef Nikos Roussos from two-Michelin-starred Funky Gourmet in Athens will be her mentor.
Zih-Yang Chen from Taiwan will represent North-East Asia at the Grand Finale. His dish showcases duck breast in ‘The Taste of Taiwan,’ with sweet potato, adlay, scallions, and other Taiwanese local ingredients. Celebrated Italian chef Umberto Bombana, who won the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Diner’s Club®Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 and is based in Hong Kong, will be leading Zih-Yang Chen to the Grand Final as his assigned mentor.
Ruslan Evstigneev, chef at restaurant Pushkin in Kazan, is the best chef in the Russia-CIS region having impressed the local jury with his signature dish, ‘Horse, kumiss, and barley. A nomad approach for a dinner.’ He will now represent the region at the Grand Finale supported by mentor chef Andrey Shmakov from restaurant SAVVA and Metropol in Moscow.
Anton Husa, the chef at Upper House Dining in Gothenburg, Sweden will represent Scandinavia and Baltics at the Grand Finale with his dish of leek-coated cod, caramelised celeriac, stuffed onions and smoked dill emulsion, served with a roasted cod and leek foam, dried liken and watercress. Chef Henri Alén from Finland, co-owner of Restaurant Finnjävel, Muru, Pastis and Bystro, will mentor Anton in the coming months.
Jake Kellie, representing Singapore, will compete for South-East Asia with his pigeon dish, which is aged in pepper leaves, hay and strawberry gum for two weeks. The head chef at Burnt Ends restaurant will be mentored by celebrated chef Richard Ekkebus of Amber restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental (Hong Kong).
David Andrésis the regional winner for a third consecutive year. The sous chef from ABaC Restaurant in Barcelona, Spain wowed the judges once again, with a new dish entitled ‘Making the most of blue fin tuna.’ Chef Oriol Castro of Disfrutar, Barcelona will now serve as Andres’ mentor guiding him up to the Grand Finale.
David Wälti from Eisblume restaurant in Worbwill represent Switzerland with his signature dish of "head to tail from Swiss mountain salmon trout with vegetables." His mentor will be the celebrated Swiss chef and returning mentor, André Jaeger, helping him to optimise his performance ahead of Milan.
John Taube IV, sous chef from The NoMad Hotel, New York, will represent the USA with his signature dish of ‘Squab and a Beet.’ His mentor is chef Gavin Kaysen, owner of the Spoon and Stable Restaurant in Minneapolis. The duo will want to impress, as much as last year’s winner and fellow countryman Mitch Lienhard.
Killian Crowley, the chef de partie from terroir driven Aniar restaurant in Galway, Ireland will represent the UK & Ireland in the ultimate global challenge. His mentor, Alyn Williams will help him to fine tune his turbot, kohlrabi and sea purslane dish over the coming months, before facing up to the final judgement at the Grand Finale in Milan 2018.
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