It's in this energy-charged arena that these young talents, supported by their mentors, will step into the bright competition lights and cook in front of a grand jury of some of gastronomy’s biggest names. Each young chef will have just five hours to create ten plates of their chosen signature dish, which they have spent months perfecting.
The prestigious chef jury of Enrico Bartolini, Manu Buffara, Andreas Caminada, Mauro Colagreco, Gavin Kaysen, Clare Smyth and Pim Techamuanvivit will judge each of their signature dishes on technical skill, creativity, personal belief and the chefs’ potential to create positive change in society through food.
The chef who displays these attributes most successfully during the live cook-off on 29 October will be crowned the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2021 winner and walk in the footsteps of the previous winners, Mark Moriarty, Mitch Lienhardand Yasuhiro Fujio, affording them global recognition.
Here's a reminder of each of the 12 global finalists, their signature dishes and a few words from them.
Who will you be championing?
Vitalii Savelev - 'Black Sea Rapa with Mushrooms grown on Lemon Peels'
Levente Koppány, the sous chef who won the Central Europe final with his dish - rainbow trout with chervil, forest mushrooms and wild garlic -says it's"quality, not quantity" that counts when you're cooking. "I am lucky because I have great suppliers, who work hard to do their best."
Zhi Cheng Wang was named Greater China regional champion after impressing the chef jury with his stand-out signature dish: 'What is Soy?' "I want to use Chinese ingredients in contemporary cooking, like olive oil for Italy and corn for Mexico," explained the young chef. "Soy can be on behalf of China, in my mind, so I just champion that."
"My professional dream is opening my own restaurant and making a success out of it," said the chef de partie. But first, he says, "my aspiration is to work hard and try to do my best at the Grand Finale."
Rafael Covarrubias - 'Mole Spiced Muscovy Duck, Preserved Prune And Winter Roots'
The Italian chef said: "There is savoir-faire behind this dish: 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."
Jose Lorenzo Morales won the Pacific regional final with his dish: 'analogy of roasted lechón pork belly, shrimp bagoong paste, pandan rice cracker, latik caramel, and tamarind powder'.
The young chef from Melbourne said: "It's not just a dish that preserves our culture, it conveys a message about all of us on one plate helping each other to see the amazing gifts of nature and conserve this so we can move forward."
Callan Austin wins the S. Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility Award, Elissa Abou Tasse wins the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy Award and Andrea Ravasio wins the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award.
From 28-30 October, join Fine Dining Lovers for a celebration of young culinary talent, when 12 global finalists will battle it out in Milan for the title of best young chef in the world - plus, join our first edition of Brain Food forum. See what's on.
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