Four semifinalists from the Middle East competing in the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 are preparing to take part in a local challenge on 26 July in Cape Town, South Africa.
Eka Mochamad, Bateaux Dubai; Gregorie Berger, Restaurant Ossiano Fine Dining – Atlantis The Palm; Michael O’Shea, The Ivy, Dubai; and Harda Azman, Nino, Kuwait are among 10 semifinalists from the Middle East & Africa.
They will compete for the chance to join 19 finalists at the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 grand finale in October in Milan.
Commenting on the upcoming challenge, chef Berger of Restaurant Ossiano commented: “I have trained myself as much as possible with support from my management and I expect to give my best to win. Let’s see if the judges will understand the soul of my creation.
“I’m very excited to be in the spotlight and compete against my counterparts in the region. That’s a challenge, but the real challenge is to compete against the world’s best!”
Young chefs from more than 90 countries submitted their applications together with their signature dishes.
The applicants were divided into 20 geographical regions, and finalist were selected by ALMA, an international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine, according to five key elements: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, and message.
Ahead of the local challenge, chef Azman of Nino said: “It’s a great privilege to be selected in the top 10 semifinalists from Middle East and Africa.
“Practice is key and I believe it is very important even if a person is fully prepared. I can see that it will be a tough competition as other competitors will be highly skillful.”
S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 is an opportunity for participants to learn from other talent, gain global visibility and come into close contact with well-known chefs.
These include the ‘Seven Sages’ grand finale jury, which features: David Higgs, Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack.
Chef O’Shea of Pierchic added: “I am super excited but quite nervous. This will definitely be a very competitive challenge. There are some great chefs competing with very high standards.
“It’s the first time I’ve participated in an international competition and I’m very much looking forward to it. I am practicing a lot to help prepare well for the challenge. Of course I want to make it to the finals in Milan so I will do my best for this.”
At the end of August, the twenty best local young chefs from each region of the world will be announced as international official finalists.
At this stage they will be assigned a mentor chef who will advise them on how to improve their signature dishes and help them to prepare for the global final.
The twenty finalists will compete in the Grand Finale on 13 October in Milan, which will include two days of cooking in front of the jury to determine the winner of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016.
S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 was created by sparkling water brand, S.Pellegrino to promote emerging talent in the culinary world.