The winner of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition West Europe regional final has been announced, and it is Raul Garcia, representing Switzerland.
The Swiss chef came out on top against 10 hopeful young chefs from the region, to be named the best young chef in West Europe for his dish of ‘pike perch, mussels, artichoke, vin jaune, barigoule nage’.
The dish was selected as the best by a local jury of Stefan Heilemann, Léa Linster, Tim Boury, Mary Nohazic and David Martin at the regional final in Brussels. Garcia will now progress to the Grand Finale in Milan.
"With this dish I actually want to transfer all my passion and love to the detail," said Garcia. "From the first step, to the last arrangement of the flower. How many thoughts have gone into this dish. How to use everything from an animal. How I can best transmit my emotions to the guest. The filigree and delicacy of the dish. But in the end it's the taste that counts, that's my priority. I also want to be able to stand behind it 100 percent and I want to tell myself, that I can't do it better at the moment."
Other awards were given out at the packed event in Brussels, with Diego Sgarbossa taking home the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility and Gianmarco Pallotta claiming the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award.
Sgarbossa impressed with his dish of ‘grilled tripe, roots and bitter herbs’, while Pallotta presented a stunning dish of 'cappelletti stuffed with grilled Swiss rabbit, its jus, bisque, rabbit porchetta, and Sicilian red shrimp and baby vegetables'.
"With this first course I wanted to create a link between land and sea, revisiting a typical preparation of my country, the porchetta," said Pallotta. "I am a lover of the sea and I wanted to make a preparation that combines the two in a modern way. Combining these also with pasta, it can never be missing in an Italian lunch. Tradition and innovation come together respecting the raw material."
"With this dish, I want to express the use of poor and reusable raw materials," said Sgarbossa. "I have used tripe which is a popular product par excellence, bitter herbs have a very low environmental impact, and roots have always been the sustenance food of the poor."
Hometown favourite, Belgium's Valerio Borriero was awarded the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy for his dish: 'pigeon from “Des Collines”, bicolor ravioli filled with carbonnade, and roasted onion consommé'.
“This dish represents the Italian immigration in Belgium in the 20th century, for working in the coal mines,” said Borriero. “My family is from this history. The carbonnade is Belgium, the raviolis is Italy, and the vegetable charcoal the raison of this immigration. I want to cook the pigeon 'des Collines', because it’s an exceptional product but also, it reduces the carbon foothprint instead of using beef.”
All three winners of the collateral prizes will now go on to compete for the global prizes.
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