The jury for South East Asia has been confirmed with a total of six judges including: Ian Kittichai (Thailand), Bo Songvisava (Thailand), Will Meyrick (Indonesia), Umberto Bombana (Hong Kong), Emmanuel Stroobant (Singapore) and Alvin Leung (Hong Kong).
The team will select a winner from a total of ten shortlisted contestants in the regional heats to represent South East Asia in the competition and world wide search to crown a S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 winner.
Award-winning chef, author and television personality Ian Kittichai has a variety of restaurants, cookbooks, events and consultancies to his name around the globe. He is most well-known for his influence on Thai cuisine and his unique approach to classic flavors and ingredients showing diners that Thai food is more than just Pad Thai and curries. Kittichai's flagsip restaurant Issaya Siamese Club, in Bangkok, is listed #19 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2016 for modern Thai food.
Chef owner Bo Songvisava of Bo.Lan restaurant along with co-owner Dylan 'Lan' Jones dedicate their kitchen to authentic Thai cuisine. The duo are also household names in Thailand thanks to their weekly cookery show. In 2013 Bo was presented with the inaugural award for Asia’s Best Female Chef, as part of The 50 Best Restaurants in Asia Awards.
Scottish chef Will Meyrick, often described as Western on the outside and Asian on the inside, joins the team fresh from his new venture, E&O in Jakarta, Indonesia. Will’s career has led him from London to Sydney and extensively through South East Asia, where he fell in love with the cuisine. On the island of Bali in Indonesia he also heads up the flagship fine-dining restaurant Sarong and culinary sweet spot, Mama San.
Hailed as 'The King of White Truffles', Italian chef Umberto Bombana of 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA heads up the only three Michelin starred Italian restaurant outside of Italy, ranking #13 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2016. Originally from Bergamo in Northern Italy Bombana was awarded Worldwide Ambassador of the White Truffle in 2006. Based on the success of his innovative carefully sourced Italian food his restaurant empire now includes 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA Shanghai, Opera Bombana in Beijing and most recently 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA at Galaxy Macau.
Emmanuel Stroobant started his career at the tender age of 16 as a pot wash, following which he was trained for 4 years in several Michelin starred restaurants in Belgium. At only 23 years old, he opened his first restaurant following which he continued his culinary journey in Australia. In 1997, Stroobant moved to Kuala Lumpur finally settling down in Singapore in Relais & Chateaux restaurant Saint Pierre.
Self taught British born and Canadian raised Alvin Leung is renowned for his “X-treme Chinese” cuisine. The self-styled celebrity ‘Demon Chef’ bought modern Chinese cuisine to Hong Kong with Bo Innovation which is #41 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2016. It now has three Michelin stars, and Leung remains a regular and larger-than-life presence on the culinary event circuit.
Please note: being a role that requires close guidance, the area mentor will be chosen following the local final, depending on the home country of the finalist.
NB. Due to upcoming commitments, Chef Umberto Bombana (previously in the NEA Jury) and chef Julien Royer (previously in the SEA Jury) have switched positions in the respective Juries.