S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award 2019-21: Last Day
On the morning of the final day of the Grand Finale, the assembled young chefs were treated to a host of inspiring and engaging talks by former winners of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition, Mark Moriarty and Mitch Leinhard, Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez, The Sages and Massimo Bottura - moderated by Fine Dining Lovers’ editor-in-chief, Ryan King.
A sense of place, taste and creativity, and waste were all explored, with questions taken from the audience, before Bottura closed with the exciting announcement that he will be opening internships at his global network of Refettorios, to which all S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy members can apply.
Discover the details:
S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award 2019-21: Cook-off
The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2019-21 Grand Finale opened with the morning session, presented by John Dickie, who introduced the contest, telling how tough it was to select contestants from around the world - a process that brought 12 young chefs under the age of 30 to the final. “S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy is not just a competition, but it is a real community,” said the presenter.
Then he introduced the Grand Jury, made up of chefs Enrico Bartolini-Italy, Manu Buffara-Brazil, Andreas Caminada-Switzerland, Mauro Colagreco-France, Gavin Kaysen-USA and Clare Smyth-UK. Thai chef Pim Techamuanvivit, who was unable to leave her country due to an unforeseen event, sent her support via video link.
Introduced by the presenters, the chefs told what they expect from this competition. “I believe that young chefs between the ages of 20 and 30 are very connected with the world, and soon understand how to manage their personality and their message to share with the world,” Bartolini said.
“Food is the key to change and it is what we expect from young people today,” added Manu Buffara.
Describing what it is like to actively participate in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy, Mauro Colagreco said: “It's a testing ground for us too, we give advice to young chefs, but we question ourselves at the same time.”
Chef Josè Morales, a finalist of the Pacific region, connected directly from Australia to Milan, talking to the judges about his 'Analogy' dish.
The same was done by chef Zhi Cheng Wang, champion of the Greater China region, who was also unable to attend the event in Milan. He explained his dish, 'What is Soy in China?', and piqued Colagreco's curiosity about the varieties of soy, a very ancient Asian product.
The first competitor in attendance to speak about his dish was Vitalii Savelev, finalist of the Euro-Asia region, with his 'Black Sea turnip with golden mushrooms, with fermented mushrooms', which Bartolini described as "a very trendy element".
Then it was the turn of the North-Western Europe region finalist, the Frenchman Alexandre Alves Pereira, who with his mentor Anne-Sophie Pic, presented 'Green Asparagus - Sarde - Edera'. Manu Buffara commented that it was a dish that wants to enhance the taste of every food, "between acidic and pleasant notes”. The complex signature dish will be presented in pairing with a cocktail prepared with Mezcal and S.Pellegrino water.
With his mentor, the Italian chef Luigi Taglienti, the finalist of the Central Europe region Levente Koppány then presented his dish: 'trout with chervil, wild mushrooms and wild garlic. “A very fresh and seasonal course, prepared with well-balanced sauces,” said Colagreco.
Mexican-born North American finalist Rafael Covarrubias, accompanied by mentor Connie DeSousa, presented his dish: spiced duck with plum jam and winter roots. The signature dish is an expression not only of food, but also of culture and history, the result of the chef's professional experiences.
The finalist of the Africa and Middle East region, Paul Prinsloo, closed the morning session with a dish that revisits the flavours of the sea in a personal way: 'Bouillabaisse 2.0'. With him was mentor Gregory Czarnecki.
The afternoon session: the competitors
In the second part of the day, more finalists of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2019-21 presented their signature dishes to the Grand Jury.
Starting off the afternoon session was Mexican chef Cynthia Xrysw Ruelas Diaz, the finalist for the Latin America region. Accompanied by mentor Elena Reygadas, the chef presented her dish ‘Milpa Y Mar’. She served it personally to each member of the jury, completing its composition. "The ingredients interrelate to each other, this dish is a real ecosystem," she explained. These include ancient varieties such as Milpa blue corn, one of the 64 varieties of corn grown in Mexico. “It represents a virtuous system where products are grown, including beans, pumpkins and corn,” said Colagreco. “I like the spicy touch of the sauce, which makes us understand where it comes from,” added Manu Buffara. "Your performance is fantastic," added Clare Smyth.
Accompanied by his mentor, Antonia Klugmann, the Italian chef Alessandro Bergamo, the Italy and Southern Europe region finalist, presented the dish: ‘Better an Egg Today or a Chicken Tomorrow’.
"There is a nice balance of flavours, between the corn and the other ingredients," said chef Klugmann. "There is a typical combination of very Italian flavours, potato millefeuille and crispy chicken," she added. “I'm impressed by the complexity of the dish, I'm not a fan of chicken, but in this case I think it expresses great professionalism,” said Bartolini. “It was cooked in a classic way,” Caminada added. “Very interesting and fun,” Kaysen said. "What is luxury? Using simple ingredients to make something very personal that enhances them: this is the lesson that this experience left me," concluded Klugmann. “A very elegant dish, with simple ingredients that the chef has been able to transform well,” concluded Manu Buffara.
‘A Celebration of Duck’, is the name of the dish by Kevin Wong, the finalist representing the Asia region. He was accompanied by mentor Julien Royer. Wong presented his signature dish in the name of balance, for which he used all the parts of the bird. “Very elegant and balanced with every bite, with its aromatic aspect,” said Clare Smith. “I am super impressed by this dish, I like the sustainability it expresses, starting with the banana leaf,” added Manu Buffara.
Jerome Ianmark Calayag - Humble Vegetables
Jerome Ianmark Calayag, finalist for the UK and Northern Europe region, followed by mentor David Ljungqvist, presented ‘Humble Vegetables’ to the judges. “A dish with great acidity and flavour, it has a nice character,” commented Kaysen. “I like it a lot,” added Colagreco.
“I think it expresses the connection with the vegetables we all had to have, and the storytelling of the dish is also done very well,” Buffara said. Finally, Bartolini added: "I'm glad to have met you, as a magician you used an excellent technique to treat vegetables."
The last competitor of the afternoon session, Albert Manso, finalist for the Iberian and Mediterranean Countries, presented his signature dish, ‘Quail and Wine’, a recipe dedicated to sustainability, where all parts of the quail are used. His mentor, Henrique Sá Pessoa, explained: “A dish that expresses and reflects his experience in Catalonia, where he used many different techniques, but perfectly in harmony and balance.”
“A very nice dish”, commented Caminada, while Buffara said: “I like how he played with the ingredients, the flavour was very good.” Colagreco expressed interest in the work done on wine and leaves: “Really persistent on the palate," he said. Gavin Kaysen concluded: "This is a dish that can speak to everyone, and this is very important."
Grand Finale of S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2019-2021: Day One
On the first day of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2019-21 Grand Finale, the finalists of the three special S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Awards were invited to participate in an afternoon of hands-on, expert-led workshops to explore some of the most important themes of gastronomy: sustainability, creativity and communication.
Learning and inspiration
The young chef winners of the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award explored the theme "Low impact ingredients and social responsibility: a sustainable path", in a workshop held by Food Made Good.
A lesson on "Global Gastronomy: Connecting Creativity and Creating Experiences", conducted by the Basque Culinary Center, saw the participation of the winners of the Acqua Panna for Connection in Gastronomy Award.
And finally, the winners of the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, nominated by our readers of Fine Dining Lovers, took part in a workshop on branding and communication.
Due to unforeseen reasons, chef Pim Techamuanvivit, representing the grand jury, will not be attending the Grand Finale in person but will be cheering on the young chefs from afar.
Also, not in attendance, due to ongoing travel restrictions, will be Victor 汪志诚 / Wang Zhicheng, the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy winner for Greater China region with his signature dish "What Is Soy In China", and his mentor Dong (Dadong) Zhenxiang chef of Da Dong in Beijing, China Mainland.
Jose Lorenzo Morales, S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy winner for Pacific region with his signature dish "Analogy", and his mentor Peter Gilmore executive chef of Bennelong and Quay in Sydney, Australia, will also be tuning in to the competition from the other side of the world.