S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Grand Finale 2021 has come to an emotional close following tonight's glittering award ceremony, where the future stars of gastronomy were celebrated and awarded alongside their mentors and some of the world's best chefs.
To reflect the Academy’s belief in the transformative power of gastronomy, this year’s Grand Finale included three additional awards: the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy, the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility, and the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award.
For the first time in the event's history, the young chef winner of each of the three additional awards was picked from 12 global finalists for each category assembled at the Grand Finale.
The 2021 award winners were as follows:
Callan Austin (Africa & Middle East) - S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility Award Winner 2021
Callan Austin, sous chef at Chefs Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic, in Cape Town, South Africa, representing the Africa & Middle East Region and mentored by chef Candice Philip, was awarded the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility. A prize given to the young chef best able to put sustainability on a plate.
Austin's signature dish, the 'Ghost Net', highlighted the environmental plight of fishing nets that have been abandoned or lost at sea. "I conceptualised the Ghost Net to educate people on the matter and I believe that my dish truly spoke about sustainability, from my concept to my locally foraged, sourced sustainable ingredients," he said.
Accepting the award he said: “It’s been a privilege to be a part of this competition. I’m just so happy I can take this knowledge back to my country and make something good of it.”
Elissa Abou Tasse (Africa & Middle East) - Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy Award Winner 2021
Photo: Julia Janse van Vuuren
Elisa Abou Tasse, from Lebanon, representing Africa and Middle East , and mentored by chef Tony Ziade, won the award for her ability to connect several cultures in her dish: 'Adam’s garden', which she said "shines a spotlight on recreating history and cultures".
Elisa wasn't able to attend the Grand finale and sent a video message to the assembled young chefs and audience saying: ‘I strongly believe that our roots and culture can evolve by meeting international influences. My dish is a symbol of that.’
Andrea Ravasio (Spain, Iberian & Mediterranean) - Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award Winner 2021
Andrea Ravasio, the young chef representing the Spain, Iberian and Mediterranean region, won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award 2021, as voted for by the Fine Dining Lovers audience.
Ravasio's signature dish, 'El Domingo Del Campesino', celebrated produce from the Canary Islands like 'cochino negro', convincing readers that he was best able to represent his culinary philosophy on a plate.
The elated young chef celebrated his win with fist pumps all round, saying, ‘it’s unbelievable. It was a long trip since 2019. It’s unbelievable that I can finish with this award. Thanks a lot and to the people who voted for my dish.”