Now in its 11th year, the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup, with its regatta and simultaneous cooking competition, once again celebrated excellence in two distinctively (but not exclusively) Italian passions and pastimes – sailing and fine dining – against the magical backdrop of Venice’s lagoon.
With the race held between the Lido of Venice and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, this extraordinary event welcomes international sailors, skippers, chefs and fine dining lovers to this unique weekend, whose end saw winners in various categories, both sailing and culinary.
The events begun on Friday evening, with a welcome dinner where the participants gathered together to meet and mingle with one another – and to present the 11 young participant chefs in the People’s Choice award, now in its third edition. Each of the 11 chefs, who come from all over the world and who are under 30 years of age and already working as chefs, prepared their “signature” dish for the dinner, and at the end of the evening, the voting took place for the winner. The announcement, however, was only made at the end of the regatta itself, during the Gala dinner on Saturday. Because it’s not only new, rising culinary stars who are celebrated with this initiative.
The real challenge comes during the race, when, as the skipper and crews from 30 international vessels are working hard to make the best time, while each boat’s chosen chef (who may be either amateur or professional) is busy down in galley, battling gravity and the clock to make a dish that will impress the jury, comprised of an international A-list of chefs like Carlo Cracco, Massimo Bottura, Elena Arzak and Inaki Aizpitarte, among others.
Once each vessel has reached the arrival mark, the chef must disembark and go aboard the Timoteo, the yacht belonging to honorary jury member Vittorio Missoni, and present the prepared dish, which have been judged according to three main criteria: taste, presentation and pairing with water and wine.
The regatta, instead, was judged by a separate panel of sailing experts. And the weekend culminated with the Gala Dinner on Saturday, when theS.Pellegrino Cooking Cup Trophy Inside the Cooking was given to the boat that best combined cooking ability and sailing skill, which this year went to Israel, with the chef Orel Kimchi (he conquered also the second position in the ranking of the Young Chef of the Year Award).
The Young Chef Of The Year 2011 by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna was awarded to the Swedish chef Daniel Berlin, whose recipe “Lightly smoked mackerel with cucumber, cauliflower, brown butter and wild herbs” was judged the best one according to the Jury’s main standards: taste, difficulty of preparation, correct match with wine and water and dish presentation.