San Pellegrino Young Chef

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016

The Most Exciting Talent Search for Chefs in the World

Matteo Zonarelli, North East Asia: "The Path to Achieving my True Dream is Long and Hard"

Matteo Zonarelli, North East Asia: "The Path to Achieving my True Dream is Long and Hard"

Matteo Zonarelli is the junior sous-chef, 8 1/2 Bombana Macau, who won the accolade of the best young chef in north east Asia in June during the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 regional final.

He now takes the responsibility of representing the region at the Grand Final in Milan, Italy where he will compete against 19 other young chefs from around the world, each presenting their signature dish to the international panel of top judges.

Zonarelli's will showcase his signature dish of sweetbread celeriac and hazelnuts during the competition where he will be supported by his professional chef mentor for the competition, Jacques Reymond.

We got to speak with Zonarelli as he prepares:

My dish is unique because
It represents me in its essence and apparent simplicity.

What are the main influences in your signature dish?
The main influence is my love for this three ingredients; sweetbread,celeriac and hazelnuts.

How are you collaborating with your S.Pellegrino Young Chef mentor in order to perfect your dish for the final?
We are trying to perfect some small details to make the dish perfectly balanced.

What led you to choosing a career in the kitchen?
I always loved to stay in the kitchen with my mother and my grandmother from a young age so I guess my family led me to making this choice.

Who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?
I had a lot of mentors and masters during my career, but the most important one for me is Giacinto Rossetti. When I talk with him I have always something to learn, for me he is like a kitchen bible. It’s a very big honour and a pleasure know him!

What are your professional ambitions?
My professional ambition is of course to become a chef.

What’s the best dish you ever tasted? - where did you eat it and who cooked it?
The best dish i ever tasted is risotto with saffron and licorice made by Massimiliano Alajmo, chef of Le Calandre restaurant in Padova, Italy.

What is the most exciting/challenging element of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition for you?
The most exciting element for me is definitely competing against other chefs from all around the world.

What will you do if you win the competition?
I should be very happy and satisfied but I know the path to achieving my true dream true is still long and hard, but to win would surely be a great confidence booster.