The Canadian Jury for SPYC 2016 is Confirmed
Chefs Normand Laprise, Rob Gentile and Connie Desousa have been named as the Canada jury members for the local selection of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 - the global talent search to find the world’s best young chef.
The trio of judges will be tasked with selecting just one finalist from the Canada regional finals who will go on to join nineteen other regional finalists from around the world at the Grand Final in Milan in October 2016.
French Canadian chef and restaurateur, Normand Laprise, will take on the dual role of both judge and mentor in this year's competition. Long since considered a leader and pioneer in Quebec cuisine chef Laprise has breathed new life into market fresh produce. He has also being recognised with a Knighthood, by the Order national du Quebec for his contribution to Quebec gastronomy from his restaurant Toqué! and Brasserie T! in Montreal, Quebec.
Born and raised on a farm Laprise developed a great respect for fresh produce from a young age. He was educated atCharlesbourg Hotel School, and has perfected his skills alongside chefs such as Jacques Le Pluart and Jean-Pierre Billoux in France, and was crowned Chef of the year by Macleans In 2012.
One of Toronto’s top chefs, Rob Gentile, was also a mentor in last year’s competition. Canadian born to Italian Parents it seems only natural that Rob has absorbed his heritage into his cooking influences, putting an Italian twist on his three Toronto restaurants. He trained in Toronto before working with some of the area's biggest culinary names. In 2009 he opened his first restaurant, Buca, a place he says is a “traditional Italian place that’s ingredient-focused with an emphasis on seasonality and a modern approach to technique”.
Connie Desousa, - joins the team from her acclaimed, joint owned Calgary restaurant Charcut. Otherwise known as the "Primal Ballerina" – in recognition of her formal dance training and meat-centric culinary mastery, Desousa's butchery skills are legendary. DeSousa’s culinary education includes Le Cordon Bleu Paris Certification and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s culinary program. She has worked around the world sharpening her skills in Germany, Jean Georges, in New York City, Chef Michael Tusk's Quince Restaurant in San Francisco before her final stop at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse in Berkeley California which she attributes to having a profound effect on her cooking style.