While tonight was about winning, the three days of the Grand Finale were all about the journey. “I met some amazing people, everyone is so nice and ambitious. I learnt so much, things that I never knew much about," reflected the young chef on his time spent with his peers and mentors in Milan.
While it's back to work for him on Tuesday, the young chef has big ambitions for the future. Whether it's opening a restaurant, in Sweden or elsewhere, he sure that he will do it sustainably. "I think it’s going to be vegetarian. It depends, maybe there will be sustainable ways of producing food that is sustainable and it’s not vegetables.”
He chose his boss at Portal Restaurant in Stockholm as his mentor, which surprised Ljungqvist as he was aware of his lack of Michelin stars and competition experience, but accepted the role with grace and determination. "He’s good, he doesn’t know how good he is. I admire him as a person so much. Yeah, I have so much to say, I like him so much as a person. He’s making me a better person every day. I hope I can be as good as him,” said the young chef of his mentor and friend.
Addressing any young chef thinking about entering the competition in the future, Calayag had this advice: “Do it before you think you are ready, you shouldn’t wait until you are ready as you might never do it and that’s not good. You miss every shot that you don’t take."
Previous winners include Mark Moriarty, the winner of the inaugural event S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015, Mitch Lienhard who won in 2016, and Yasuhiro Fujio who was 2018's winner.
Congratulations to all the chefs who took part in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2019-2021.