So far 21 young chef finalists from around the world have proved they have the steely determination it takes to represent their country by storming their local competitive cooking heats. Now, as they focus on the final challenge, when they will face the daunting task of presenting to theSeven Sages, their mentor chefsoffer up some invaluable final advice to inspire and motivate them until the final win.
There are 21 mentor chefs, each accompanying their respective regional finalist on their challenging journey. They have already helped their rising star to hone and polish their signature dish and presentation skills and they will also be on hand to support, guide and advise from the sidelines during the two days of top-level culinary competition.
At the Grand Finale, taking place on 12 and 13 May in Milan (watch the live stream here), they will all be rooting for their regional chef to be named the most talented young chef in the world, and crowned S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018.
You can watch the action as it happens on the live stream!
Here are some final wise words from each of the mentors ahead of the starter's whistle...
Wojciech Amaro (meet the mentor for East Europe here)
Winner takes all – recognition, fame, a major prize, experience and also uncountable connections, memories, friendships and vital tips from other competitors and mentors from around the world.
Mikel Alonso (meet the mentor for Central America and Caribbean here)
It would be the biggest reward for all their hard work and dedication - a type of gastronomic hug that feeds the fire that keeps us passionate about this profession.
Oriol Castro (meet the mentor for Spain and Portugal here)
A victory would change a chef’s life in a professional way. He or she will win visibility and recognition. And it would be very important for their country and its local cuisine.
Savour the experience...
Ricardo Bertolino (Meet the Canada Mentor here)
I hope the winner will cherish the memories and the lessons of this journey.
Andrei Shmakov (meet the mentor for Russia here)S.Pellegrino Young Chef offers the chance to show your philosophy, to see the best chefs in the world, and to get acquainted with a mass of talented people.
On making mistakes...
Marthinus Ferreira (meet the mentor for Africa&Middle Easthere)
Don’t be afraid to fail. You learn more from your failures than you do from your triumphs. Keep tasting. Always think how you can improve.
Henri Alen (meet the mentor for the Scandinavia and Baltics here)
Train for worst-case scenarios, and you’ll be on the podium.
Richard Ekkebus (meet the mentor chef for South East Asiahere)
Failures are an integral part of learning.
Luca Fantin (Meet the mentor for Japan here)
It’s a wonderful opportunity for all young talents coming through the kitchen that want the opportunity to express their emotions and their creativity.
On dreaming big...
Gavin Kaysen (Meet the USA mentor here)
Dream as big as you can and go after it, have no fear about what can happen, only fear not to have the courage to do it in the first place.
On being humble...
Umberto Bombana (meet the mentor for North East Asiahere)
It is about participating with love and passion, and at the end, everyone is a winner. We have to respect everybody and everything we do.
On learning from the culinary journey ...
Mikel Alonso (meet the mentor for Central America and the Carribean here)
Have high goals and work towards them. The lessons lie not in the destination but the journey.
Anthony Genovese (meet the mentor chef for Italy here)
It has to be a personal experience and a voyage of discovery.
Rafael Osterling (meet the mentor for South Americahere)
Just learn, be strong.
On finding your identity...
Nikos Roussos (meet the mentor for the Mediterranean Countrieshere)
Working under pressure with fellow professionals from all over the world and sharing different cultures is what shapes you as a chef.
Peter Goosens (meet the mentor for Benelux here)
The narrative is important, but the most important of all are the taste, the flavours and the originality of the dish.
On working hard work...
Jacqueline Qiu (meet the mentor chef for China here)
Young chefs also need to practice and practice again, whether they are basic ingredients or techniques - to strengthen their skills through constant practice, to study hard and find the right direction by setting goals.
Scott Pickett (meet the mentor for the Pacific regionhere)
Nothing beats hard work. Talent isn’t just enough if you don't use it properly!
Karlheinz Hauser (meet the mentor chef for Germany and Austria here)
Start now and pursue the goal to be better and continue to learn.