Four Top Chefs Named in Japan Local Competition Jury
Four top chefs have been selected as the jury for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 local competition in Japan: Luca Fantin, Thomas Angerer, Yoshiaki Takazawa, and Zaiyu Hasegawa.
The four experienced Japan-based chefs will be tasked with selecting one young finalist from 10 shortlisted regional contestants to represent the region at the Grand Finale in Milan in May 2018. There, the young chef finalist will face off against 20 other regional finalists for the opportunity of being crowned the best young chef in the world.
Italian Executive Chef, Luca Fantin of Tokyo’s Bulgari Il Ristorante, heads up the jury, taking on the additional role of mentor this year. He has participated in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition since its inaugural edition and will be demanding of the exacting standards required in this third edition: “Working and living in Japan, I know the quality of cuisine in Japan is very high. I hope young Japanese chefs will not be afraid of taking this opportunity and challenge themselves. I look forward to being in my country in Italy with the finalist of Japan next year.”
Based in Tokyo since 2009, Fantin has worked at some of the world’s most important restaurants, including Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain and La Pergola in Rome, Italy. Fantin is also no stranger to the pressures of being a young chef, having become Executive Chef of Bulgari Il Ristorante when he was just 29-years-old. Fantin led the restaurant to gain the first Michelin star in 2011 and 3 years after, he was awarded the "Best Italian Chef in the World" by Italian cuisine guidebook Identitá Golose 2015. His style is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Italian cuisine based on the use of top-quality Japanese local ingredients handled with artful creativity and refinement.
Joining Fantin on the jury is Tokyo-born Yoshiaki Takazawa who opened restaurant Aronia de Takazawa (Akasaka) in 2005, which was listed at no.24 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016. Takazawa trained at culinary school and is a qualified sommelier. His cuisine, which aims to "rethink the tradition of Japan's good climate, people, food and ingredients," has garnered international interest and he has been annually invited as a representative of Japan to the world-renowned Spanish International Cooking Association [Lo mejor de la Gastronomia], as well as the International Cooking Association in Mexico.
Takazawa is keen to encourage homegrown talent to inspire young chefs to “aim for new heights” and speaking of the forthcoming competition said: “I am looking forward to advising and inspiring the dreams of young chefs who are about to step onto to such a glittering stage.”
Austrian born Thomas Angerer also joins the team, bringing with him a wealth of international culinary experience. In 2000, he joined the Hyatt Hotel Group, and after working as a chef at Grand Hyatt Dubai, his travels continued working as Executive Chef of Grand Hyatt's hotels in Istanbul, Coolum and Chennai. Since 2013 he has been working as the Executive Chef of Park Hyatt Tokyo, concentrating on seasonal use of ingredients in his creations. Speaking of the experience ahead of him he commented: “I strongly believe that it is important to foster young talent. We have seen so many rising stars in the culinary scene in Japan and I am looking forward to discovering some new ones during this year’s S. Pellegrino Young Chef Japan competition.”
Completing the line up is Zaiyu Hasegawa. Also Tokyo-born, from Den restaurant. Starting at 18 years old Hasegawa trained at the long-running establishment U wo Toku following which he gained experience at many restaurants, including working at a small restaurant operated by his mother for a year. At 29-years-old he opened his own restaurant, Jinbo-ch, which came 37th in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, also winning the Art of Hospitality Award. He is garnering high praise from all over the world for his attempts at creating "a new form of Japanese cuisine" full of playful and hospitable spirit. Whilst confessing to be a little daunted by the S.Pellegrino Young Chef experience, as a comparatively young chef himself, he is looking forward to the new challenge ahead: “From the viewpoint of a near-generation chef, I hope that we will make new discoveries together. I will gladly support all the participants and help them bring smiles to people around the world through their cooking.”
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