Three chefs from the UAE and one from Bahrain have been selected among the 10 Middle East and Africa S. Pellegrino Young Chef semi-finalists.
Thousands of applications were submitted by young chefs from more than 90 countries, and 10 semi-finalists have been chosen from each of the 20 regions taking part.
Luca Antonelli, area manager – Middle East, S.Pellegrino commented: “We are very pleased to see an increase in the number of applications for S. Pellegrino Young Chef Award from the UAE this year.
“This edition is very special for us as we eagerly look forward to hosting the MEA region semifinals for the first time in Dubai. The increasing interest further demonstrates the importance of the awards programme in helping young, talented chefs with immense potential and inspiration to make their mark in the industry.”
The GCC semi-finalists are: Aditya Kumar Jha from Tamba Abu Dhabi, Mario Christianto from The Exchange Grill in Dubai, Nigel Lobo from The Eloquent Elephant in Dubai and Jorge Alexis Falcon Valera from Cantina Kahlo in Bahrain.
The 10 MEA semi-finalists will compete at a local challenge in Dubai this year for the chance to go forward to the finals in 2018.
Now in its third year, S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award is an opportunity for culinary talents to demonstrate and strengthen their skills and gain visibility on an international stage.
Each young chef’s application and signature dish was evaluated by experts at international educational and training centre for Italian cuisine, ALMA, in adherence with five ‘Golden Rules’ – ingredients, skill, genius, beauty and message.
Andrea Sinigaglia, general manager of ALMA commented: “It is the third time now that we have the responsibility to select the young chefs for the local finals, but we continue to be amazed by how much flair and passion for fine food these young talents possess.
“Having to select only 10 semi-finalists for each region when you are presented with so many interesting applications, is not at all easy. It is also our responsibility to accompany all candidates in a way that renders the competition realistic and highly educational. S.Pellegrino Young Chef is not only a chance to emerge, but also a moment of international encounter, exchange and sharing.”
The other semifinalists from the Middle East and Africa region are from South Africa.
They are: Ianca Stryom, Garth Rauben Heimer, and Paul Prinsloo from The Restaurant at Waterkloof; Georgios Spandos, Palm Hotel & Spa; Sheldon Raju, Sheldon Raju Cosultancy and Vusumi Ndlovu, The Saxon Hotel Villas and SPA.
From June to December 2017 the semi-finalists of each region will compete in local challenges.
Each region will have a jury composed of independent chefs, who will judge the semi-finalists’ signature dishes and select the best one, based on the five ‘Golden Rules’.
By the end of December 2017, 21 finalists from around the globe will be confirmed to attend the final in June 2018.
Each finalist will be assigned a chef mentor from their regional jury, who will provide support in preparation for the international finals.