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The wheels are in motion for the third ever edition of S.Pellegrino Young Chef and this year's competitors are out of the starter's gate in the race to the ultimate destination, the Grand Finale in June 2018.
As the year's semi-finalists wait anxiously for their respective local competitions, unfolding globally over the coming six months, we find out how each of them was hand picked from thousands of applications by the team at ALMA.
The International School of Italian Cuisine headquartered in Colorno in the province of Parma was responsible for selecting the local finalists for each of the 21 geographical areas, screening each and every one of the resumes and recipes sent in by young chefs around the world.
We spoke with Matteo Berti, the co-ordinator for ALMA's to find out more about how this year's applicants shaped up:
How was the selection process?
In a word? Complex! There were about 10,000 entries, it was really difficult to sift through them all.
Did you find any differences in the recipes submitted by different countries?
Italy was more creative than technical. The USA displayed interesting imagination. While in the Balkans they made good use of herbs.
And conversely, did you find any global similarities between recipes?
Sustainability took the lead. This was the first year in which the young chef competitors have been given a budget and we paid more attention to waste and a desire to discover more about the raw materials.
Did you find differences between this and the previous two editions?
The guys were more careful and aware than ever before. We can be optimistic about the future of haute cuisine.