Dubai will host the Africa & Middle East semifinal event for S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award for the first time on 16 October.
One of the most coveted awards for young chefs, the semi-final will take place at the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai with 10 competitors from the Middle East and Africa, including three UAE chefs and one from Bahrain.
Representing the Middle East are Aditya Kumar Jha from Tamba Abu Dhabi, Mario Christianto from The Exchange Grill Restaurant in Dubai, Nigel Lobo at The Eloquent Elephant and Jorge Alexis Falcon Valera from Cantina Kahlo in Bahrain.
The other six semi-finalists are from South Africa. They are: Lanca Stryom, Garth Rauben Heimer and Paul Prinsloo from The Restaurant at Waterkloof; Georgios Spandos from Palm Hotel & Spa; Sheldon Raju from Sheldon Raju Consultancy; and Vusumi Ndlovu from The Saxon Hotel Villas and Spa.
Sascha Triemer, Marthinus Ferreira and Dominique Grel representing Dubai, South Africa and Mauritius respectively, will form the local jury for Africa and Middle East.
The trio of chefs will judge the signature dishes during a cook-off this month, based on the five ‘Golden Rules’: ingredients, skill, genius, beauty and message.
A chef mentor from the jury will guide the winning chef up until the final stages of the competition at the final in Milan in June 2018.
The programme was created by sparkling water brand, S.Pellegrino, to reaffirm its commitment to the promotion of emerging talents and to enhancing and diffusing fine dining culture throughout the world.
The journey of the international competition continues through various selections made by ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine.
During the initial phase, all applications are divided into 21 geographical regions and 10 semi-finalists are selected from each region to compete at a local event.
A local jury then selects a finalist from 10 semi-finalists through a local competition held in every geographical area.
By the end of December 2017, the 21 Young Chefs from around the globe will be announced as the official finalists, who will move on to the Grand Finale, to be held in June 2018.
Each finalist will be assigned a mentor chef (a member of their regional jury), who will provide them with guidance on how to improve their signature dishes and will support them in their preparation for the international finals.