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Here we are at last! The very last stages of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 Grand Final have started this morning at The Mall in Milan. This international talent search launched by S.Pellegrino is coming to a close, and 20 finalists from all over the world have gathered in Milan to present their creations (click here to see them all).
A jury made of “seven sages” – Gastón Acurio, Margot Janse, Grant Achatz, Joan Roca, Massimo Bottura, Yannick Alléno and Yoshihiro Narisawa – will evaluate each signature dish, taking the criteria of taste, presentation and concept into consideration to select three top finalists.
The young chefs have been divided in two groups of 10. The first half started presenting their dishes at 10 a.m.CEST this morning, while the others will compete at 1.30 p.m. CEST. The first group to compete included Tobia Wessler (Germany-Austria) with Micheis Vom Tannegrun; Martin Elschner (Switzerland) with River, Land, Earth; Peter Gunn (Pacific) with his Wagyu Short Rib With Roast Celery Vinaigrette;
Alexander Tsiotinis’ Cretan Salad in a Pot (Mediterranean Countries);
Alex Joseph’s Rabbit Tasting with Potato Purée, Seasonal Vegetables, Violet Mustard, Pickled Wild Onions (Benelux);
Zhu Wenyen’s Tomato (China)
Kirk Westaway’s Forest Pigeon (South-East Asia); Vinson Petrillo’s Pressurized Octopus, Chorizo, “Parsley” Wagyu Cheek Agnilotti, Octopus Ink Emulsion (United States); and Maria José Jordan’s Immortal Technique: citrus, rosemary and gin (Latin America).
Each chef was given a chance to talk about their dish and their months of hard work and research needed to perfect their craft for the big event. From the moment each finalist was elected to represent their regional area, they have trained under the guidance of a mentor who have accompanied them right through the Grand Final.
“Yesterday I worked for 10 hours and I practically haven’t slept because I was too excited and too full of adrenaline,” said Maria Jose Jordan, the only woman competing for the title. “However I feel satisfied. I had one last-minute change with the addition of a small ingredient. Every detail has its importance.”
Not every mentor and chef come from the same country, as is the case of Italian Chef Giancarlo Morelli who is guiding Belgian Finalist Alex Joseph. “This isn’t a problem: if the young chef is well prepared, the language and nationality differences don’t really matter,” said Morelli. “The basis of cooking is the same everywhere: the basic stocks and sauces cover the sphere of all preparations.”
The second part counted Angelo Scirocco’s Milk is Thicker than Water (Africa/Middle East); Paul Moran’s Blood Pigeon Smoked and Roasted, Beet Jus, Charcoal Oil, Polenta and Salsify (Canada); Paul Feybesse’s Arlette Onion (France);
Ryoma Shida’s Umami (Japan); Stefan Barca’s Who Killed the Bambi (East Europe); Mark Moriarty’s Celeriac baked in Barley and Fermented Hay, Cured and Smoked Celeriac (UK/Ireland),
David Andreas Morera’s Roasted Smoked Eel, Onion Soup, Hollandaise sauce and Pickle Onions (Spain/Portugal), Eldar Muradov’s Sturgeon with Mussels, Spring Onions, Jerusalem Artichoke and Smoked Broth (Russia/Baltics), Jin Yong Park’s Samgyetang (Eastern and Central Asia), and Paolo Griffa’s Tripes & Foie Gras (Italy).
The Italian chef Paolo Griffa is up now - he's cooking on home soil - pic.twitter.com/6NDETdJ132— Fine Dining Lovers (@FineDiningLover) 26 Giugno 2015
Twenty spectacular dishes prepared under pressure, the contenders presented their work to the jury panel of world famous chefs who will soon unveil the names of the top three finalists who will participate in the Grand Final in the hope of becoming the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015.