The search for S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 is about to begin. Starting on the 1st of January 2016 applications to the challenge opened, closing on the 31st of March 7th of April (postponed deadline) 2016.
What will it take to enter this world class talent competition where young chefs from all corners of the world will compete to be the best?
Fine Dining Lovers interviewed the so called Seven Sages, the Top Jury members that will select the winner in the Grand Final, to find out their professional opinion and give the young chefs their advice.
WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST CONTESTANTS CONSIDER WHEN APPLYING?
Gaggan Anand: “Please, apply to win with good food and not apply to for the sake of fame and fortune”.
Elena Arzak: “It is very important for the candidates to know how to listen and accept advice to improve and get a better result”.
Mauro Colagreco: “I think the best suggestion I could give is never to give up of a dream; not to put up barriers, be open minded and believe in what we do”.
Carlo Cracco: “Open your eyes and observe what is going on around you: always aim to do better and go further. You need to create a good dish, certainly, but above all develop an idea and, if you can, an authentic philosophy. What we are looking for is something that is quite unique. Know no limits”.
Wylie Dufresne: “Think long and hard about your dish: this is an away game. You’re cooking food in a foreign country, and you won’t have your usual kitchen team. So you have to make smart choices… It needs to be a dish that you can replicate in a challenging environment”.
David Higgs: “Make sure you have a solid idea/concept for your dish. It’s not just a dish, it’s a piece of you and a piece of your personality. Let the dish talk and show you skills. Don’t forget the basics and getting them spot on. Be adventurous and don’t hold back it’s a chance of a lifetime”.
Roberta Sudbrack: “Be true to yourselves. Don’t do anything because you’re trying to please others, do it because you believe”.
As well as the capability to design and create a dish there are a number of other qualities that the Seven Sages seek in young talents. We asked them how they go about defining and identifying the characteristics of a talented young chef.
WHAT CHARACTERISTICS SHOULD A YOUNG TALENTED CHEF HAVE?
• "Passion and to cook what they believe in"
• "Their identity in the food, the madness and creativity which will make us remember every bite of what they cooked".
• "They need to love being a chef, to be very persistent and creative".
• "A young talented chef knows how to manipulate the raw material without damaging it and respecting its nature and flavour. Besides, it needs to be original".
• "Passion, perseverance and rigor. From those main characteristics. A young talent chef is someone that shows passion for what he does, that doesn't give up at 1st obstacle and that works properly and knows how to use different cooking techniques".
• "The dish matters but it is important to understand the various steps in its making: how it has been put together, re-invented and completed, the way in which the idea has been conceived".
• "We are not judging the chef but the dish: is it appropriate for what he intends to do? Is the approach right? It is not a question of being right or wrong."
• "Curiosity, dedication and a sharp knife".
• "It’s all about the attitude. It’s not what they know or how well they can cook, it’s their willingness to learn".
• "A good basic understanding of cooking techniques together with a solid theme or concept for a dish and willing to put yourself out there creatively and take chances".
• "A natural confidence about themselves, but not too much (haha). A self-belief together with vision. And that you can see when they talk to you, they present menu ideas and are confident enough to put it to you".
• "Precisely own these ideals: committal, determination, overcoming and love for the profession".
• "Many things can define, but in my opinion none is more definitive than the posture".