Words: Crush


Following the notable worldwide success of its first edition with more than 3,000 applications submitted, S.Pellegrino — an ambassador of Italian taste and fine dining around the globe — is proud to launch S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016, the global scouting project to find the best young chef in the world.

The unique initiative, dividing the world into 20 areas and involving around 100 top chefs as jurors across the globe, 20 young chef finalists, 20 chef mentors and a stellar chefs jury, reflects S.Pellegrino’s commitment to supporting emerging talents. Applications have been open since 1 Jan 2016 at finedininglovers.com.

Veteran talents of the competition include Irish Chef Mark Moriarty, winner of the 2015 edition, who commented on his positive experience: “I was delighted and honoured to be named S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015. The journey was an unforgettable and one off experience that I will never forget. I met so many fantastic chefs along the way and the title has made an incredible difference to my career as a whole”.

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 will feature a renewed panel of judges, the Seven Sages, which will be responsible for selecting the most talented young chef of the world.

Chef David Higgs from South Africa will join this incredible jury, that for 2016 will be composed by some of the world most renowned cuisine artists, like Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack.


S.Pellegrino Young Chef is a global competition realised in different phases.

Phase One – Online Application

From the 1st of January 2016 until March 31st , all young chefs across the globe will have the opportunity to submit their application together with their signature dish in English via finedininglovers.com, the online magazine for food enthusiasts proudly endorsed by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Applying young chefs must be no older than 30 and are required to have at least one year of experience working in a restaurant as chefs, sous chefs or chefs de partie .

Phase Two – Selection of Regional Shortlist and Regional Winner

All candidates will be divided into 20 regions* according to their geographic origin, and their submissions will be evaluated by ALMA, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine (alma.scuolacucina.it). Throughout the month of April, ALMA will select the first ten finalists for each region following five Golden Rules: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, and message.

Phase Three – and Regional Finals 

The selected ten finalists of the 20 geographical areas will then move on to the Local Finals, where live competitions will be held locally in each region from the May 1st to August 15th. During these events, the area finalists will have to cook their signature dishes for an exclusive regional jury composed of independent top chefs, who will taste the dishes and select the winner, following the five Golden Rules.

In Middle East & Africa the regional jury includes great names, such as Chantel Dartnall, Meryem Cherkaoui and Christopher Lester.

By the end of August 2016, the 20 Best Regional Young Chefs from each world region will be announced as the official finalists. Each finalist will be assigned a “Mentor Chef”, one of the members of the regional jury, who will provide the young chefs with suggestions to improve their signature dishes and to help them prepare for the global finals.

In Middle East & Africa the Mentor chef is Chantel Dartnall – voted S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year at the Eat Out Award 2014 in Cape Town – who has enhanced South Africa’s status as a gourmet destination on the international culinary map, thanks to her meticulous approach to modern fine dining at the renowned Mosaic at the Orient.

Phase Four – Grand Finale Event

On October 13th 2016, all the Young Chef finalists will gather in Milan for the final phase, which will consist of a two-days intense cooking competition in front of the international panel of judges, the Seven Sages, that will award the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016.

The complete contest regulation and the application form will be available on www.finedininglovers.com. The e-magazine will cover also each local and international phase of the project with exclusive contents, including the Live Grand Final in Milan.

The 20 Regions

  1. Italy
  2. France
  3. Germany-Austria
  4. Switzerland
  5. Spain-Portugal
  6. UK-Ireland
  7. Russia/Baltics/CIS (ex Soviet Union)
  8. Scandinavia (Norway/Sweden/Finland/Denmark)
  9. East Europe
  10. BeNeLux
  11. Med Countries
  12. USA
  13. Canada
  14. Africa-Middle East
  15. Latin America – Caribbean
  16. Pacific (Australia/NZ/Pacific Islands)
  17. China
  18. Japan
  19. Northeast Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines)
  20. Southeast Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia) 

The entry phase is open until the end of March 2016 and after several rounds the finals will be held mid-October 2016. Follow the competition via hashtag #SPYoungChef to never miss an update on the event. 

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