It was an emotionally charged day at Le Cordon Bleu Paris yesterday when the ten finalists in the North-West Europe region of S.Pellegrino Young Chef were picked by the local jury, composed of chefs Anne-Sophie Pic (president), David Martin and Heiko Nieder.
Following a challenging five hours in the kitchen, Alexandre Alves Pereira was crowned the eventual winner and will fly to Milan next May, to defend his region's colours at the global Grand Finale.
The young sous-chef from restaurant Lasserre in Paris was able to stand out from his peers thanks to his signature dish of "Green asparagus, sardine, ground ivy," a dish which he describes as really representing him both culinarily and personally as well as a mix of cultures and techniques.
Speaking of his win the jubilant 29 year old chef said "Thank you! because the level was extraordinary, it's a beautiful experience, magnificent teamwork with my mentor since my candidacy, and a lot of refinement and details up until yesterday. I am happy to find Anne-Sophie Pic, a chef of this stature, there is no better partner for me to perfect myself until the grand finale."
Multi Michelin starred French chef Anne Sophie Pic, will accompany Alexandre on his journey ahead helping to refine and hone his dish, technique and presentation skills ready to represent the region at the Grand Finale in Milan.
At this regional level, there were also three other awards up for grabs:
Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy
Voted by the Regional Mentors, the winner of this award will produce a dish that represents diversity and recognises the beauty of different cultures coming together to create something fresh and exciting.
Winner: Vivien Rouleaud, chef de partie at restaurant Le Chabichou à Courchevel with the signature dish "Beginning of spring...squab returns!".
Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award
Voted for by the online Fine Dining Lovers community, this award will be for the young chef who best represents their personal belief within their dish.
Winner: Evens Lopez, Chef de partie at restaurant Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l'Hôtel de Paris, Monte Carlo with the signature dish "Homard bleu tiède, pain de blé truffier goût marin et artichaut farci"
S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility
Voted by Food Made Good, the internationally recognized voice on Sustainability in food, this dish will represent the principle that that food is best when it is the result of sustainable practices.
Winner: Kitano Yurika, chef at restaurant Margo à Paris, France with her signature dish "Spring is everywhere with Normandy".
All of the young chef award winners will also be invited to attend the Grand Finale, affording them another opportunity to network with some of the biggest names in gastronomy from around the globe and the chance to win the global award in their category.
We'll keep you updated with live updates and news as it happens, be sure to follow #SPYoungChef!