ALMA Explain the Young Chef Selection Process for SPYC 2016
Applications for S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 are closed. Now it’s waiting time for the young chefs from all over the world: ALMA is evaluating their dishes and deciding who the candidates will be for each of the 20 regions and who will challenge one another in the local finals: they will be officially named on 2nd May.
The SPYC 2016 Selection Process
“We are the guarantors of the competition, ensuring the rules are obeyed and the raw materials are checked”, explains Matteo Berti, ALMA education coordinator. “The selection process has involved most of the chefs here at the school. Each one is assigned to an area based on their own training and past experiences. But the differences between the regions are not as big as one might think: at some levels of Alta Cucina everyone speaks the same language”.
With so many contestants involved in the selection process, how can you go from several thousand to a maximum of 10 candidates per area? “A lot of things you can tell at one glance, you understand immediately if there’s a professional behind the recipe”, Berti replies. “Mark Moriarty, the winner of the last edition, was perfect in every way, including a photo of the dish, which is no small thing. But precision in writing the recipe is also important: these are all keys to understanding the candidates’ professionalism.”
This first selection phase carried out by ALMA will produce the semi-finalists who will go head-to-head in each area at the ovens to win the title of finalist for their geographic area . The next step is the Grand Finale in Milan in October, where the top 20 candidates from all over the world will face off to become the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016.
The memory of the last edition is still fresh. “It was incredible to see the result of months of work”, says Chistian Broglia, ALMA events chef who experienced the 2015 finale in person. “We designed the stations for the finale based on the recipes of the 20 finalists, so that each one of them would have a kitchen in his own image for at least once evening. The atmosphere was extraordinary, euphoric, and yet extremely professional.”
Attitude is Important
Everyone agrees: it is important for young chefs to put themselves to the test in a challenge like this. The S. Pellegrino Young Chef competition features the top young chefs from all over the world, and you can imagine what level they must have achieved to make it this far. Occasionally someone thinks he’s very good but he’s not; sometimes someone is too humble and needs to compare himself with others to understand his true worth. “Moriarty, for example, was very modest”, Broglia recalls. “A good quality, certainly, that enables him to experience cooking with peace of mind, but he only understood his potential after he won. This was his springboard.”