The final of the Italy and South-East Europe region of S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2020 crowned Alessandro Bergamo winner out of 10 of the best young chefs in the region. The sous chef from the Cracco restaurant in Milan will now advance to the Grand Finale in 2020, where he will compete against the other 11 finalists from the other 11 regions around the world.
Alongside the Italian sous chef, there were three other special prizes awarded on the day, to chefs Antonio Romano, Tommaso Tonioni and Davide Marzullo. Each recognised for stand out elements in their signature dishes, highlighting the transformative power of gastronomy and its impact beyond the kitchen, as follows:
S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility
For the dish that best reflects the principles of socially responsible practices
Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy
For the chef able to connect several cultures through his dish
Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thoughts Award f
For the young chef best representing his personal beliefs through his dish.
We spoke to each of the four award winners to discover more about their professional hopes and dreams and the maginc behind their signature dishes.
Alessandro Bergamo, Italy and South-East Europe regional winner
Sous chef at Cracco RestaurantSignature dish: Better an egg today or a chicken tomorrow?
Why do you think your dish could win the Grand Finale in 2020?
Because it is real, coherent, honest, treated as it should be, and there is savoir-faire behind it: the work of the craftsman who comes into play to transform a chicken and a potato into something that can be served in great restaurants, at great tables, for great people ... and it is prepared with care and love.
How will you collaborate with your mentor, Antonia Klugmann, in order to perfect your dish for the final?
Now we represent a region, I am a fairly humble person and I accept criticism, so I think it must be a team effort: now Alessandro Bergamo is no longer in the race, but it is Alessandro Bergamo who represents a region. I will accept it, I will be available and I will seek the advice of anyone who wants to help this region get where it deserves. The first time I met chef Klugmann in person, on the day of the regional final, it was a pleasure: I found her available right away, she will be ready to help me with open arms. We will soon be in contact and taking action, to transform the dish ready for the final.
What are your professional dreams?
The first is to win the Grand Finale of S. Pellegrino Young Chef in Milan and this seems like a good project to me. I'm from Mariano Comense, not far from Milan, it would be the icing on the cake. I will put all my efforts into it and I hope that Italy can give me the help I need, so I'll wait for everyone's advice to bring my plate, our dish, to the end.
Antonio Romano, Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award
Sous chef of Attimi by Heinz Beck CityLife, MilanSignature dish: Roma Locuta
This award went to the chef who knew how to best represent his ideas through the dish. Can you tell us more about your creation?
It is a dish that comes from within, speaks of what we are when we grow up, with references to our memory. In particular, I did research on ancient Rome, thinking of my origins: I investigated how dates were used, how spices were used, and I tried to reproduce them in what is a new key. The name of the dish, in fact, is Roma Locuta, which stands for "Rome expressed itself". The ingredients express my Roman spirit, different from the one we experience today with cheese and pepper or with carbonara, but with ingredients and ancient elements.
Tommaso Tonioni, Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy
Ex sous chef del ristorante Il Pagliaccio di RomaSignature dish: Lol Eel Pop - Honey From The Beach & Potatoes From The Lake
Why do you think you won this award?
What I immediately pointed out is the use of primitive cooking, which is that on the fire. Starting from there is the connection between people because cooking food on the fire was the first form of cooking and what distinguished us from the apes. Furthermore, I believe that the cornerstone of this award was to present a dish with so much philosophy, with a connection starting from a problem, that of bees, and using all the ingredients that the bee produces, from wax to pollen and honey, transforming them with modern techniques. To create "Lol "Eel" Pop - Honey From The Beach & Potatoes From The Lake" I created a bee wax and fig broth with a flaxseed cracker, fermented fig cream and snails, while the eel was rolled up, cooked on the barbecue and lacquered with Tuscan beach honey.
Davide Marzullo, S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility Award
Sous chef at The Market Place, Como, ItalySignature dish: Aubergine dish In Black Tie
Why do you think you won this award?
My strength in this dish was its poverty: I used humble ingredients in all the preparations and I'm proud of them. Aubergine, a "poor" ingredient, was the key: I created the dish by changing its dress, that is turning it into a rich ingredient. With Aubergine In Black Tie I recreated an aubergine with a pork gut, alongside the ravioli of Timilia with three sauces - kefir, basil and balsamic vinegar - and finally, a small consommé to drink to refresh your mouth.
What are some good practices to adopt in terms of sustainability?
Use poor ingredients: not too many "frills" are needed to be a great chef. We must be more and more open-minded, to the point of being able to use poor ingredients and profit from them as much as using a rich ingredient.