Chefs Seiji Yamamoto, Shinobu Namae and Luca Fantin have been announced as Japan's jury members for the local selection of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015.
Japan joins Italy as one of the first regions to reveal their jury, 18 more juries and mentors from around the world are expected to be revealed as excitement builds ahead of the rigorous selection process, culminating in the grand final in Milan, June 2015.
Chef Seiji Yamamoto, who is originally from Kagawa prefecture in Japan, will also act as the mentor to the eventual Japanese finalist, guiding the young chef through the tricky process of honing and perfecting his or her dish for the final.
Yamamoto, the winner of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Chef’s Choice Award 2013, is known for his imaginative contemporary reinventions of traditional Japanese recipes at his 3-Michelin star Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo.
Chef Shinobu Namae, who runs the 2-Michelin star L’Effervescence - a contemporary French restaurant in Tokyo, 25 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 - will work as a jury member on the Japanese panel. He honed his skills alongside Michel Bras and Heston Blumenthal, something plain to see in his inventive gastronomic twists on French cuisine. His love of organic vegetables and premium Japanese ingredients gives his food a distinctive natural quality.
Completing the line-up is chef Luca Fantin of Bulgari Il Ristorante, one of Tokyo’s outstanding Italian restaurants, which also has a Michelin star. Having worked at some of the world’s most important restaurants - including the Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain and La Pergola in Rome, Italy - Fantin became an executive chef of Bulgari Il Ristorante when he was still 29 years old so he knows all about the pressures of being a young chef. His style is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Italian cuisine based on the use of top-quality raw materials that are elaborated with refined techniques and great creativity.