10 talented bright young chefs have been selected for the 2022 Pacific Region S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition.
The winner, who will be announced in Sydney on Monday, 17th October, will then go on to compete at the Grand Finale in Milan in 2023, an opportunity that provides young stars with the chance to showcase their skills in front of a team of talented judges.
The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition is an annual event to support a personal vision for the world of food, demonstrating how food can have a positive impact on society at large.
Following his participation in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition in 2019, Pacific regional winner Jose Lorenzo Morales caught the attention of judge Dan Hunter and secured a Demi Chef at Hunter’s acclaimed restaurant Brae.
Devoted and desiring to make the world a better place through ethical cuisine, these 10 young chefs have been selected for their creative and aspirational dishes. They have created dishes with flair, forte and something important to say.
The 2022 Pacific Region S.Pellegrino Young Chefs and their dishes are:
- Abhishek Thorat – Flavours of Kashmir
- Tatsuta Fujii – Dry Aged Yakitori Duck
- Alexis Belmas – Western Breeze over Oz
- Diego Huerta – Marbled Turbot, Potato & Seaweed
- Robin Wagner – Smoked Celeriac/Granny Smith Apple/Crispy Taro
- Simon Ming – The element of HEAT
- Jackson Mehlhopt – The Southern Kiwi Dear and its surroundings
- Srishti Godbole – Farmer’s table
- Leidy Carolina Maldonado Ramirez – Ensalda de payaso “Clown Salad”
- Jose Lorenzo Morales (S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2019, Pacific regional winner) – Analogy from the river
Srishti Godbole, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate, currently working at Maximillian’s as Chef de Partie in Adelaide, presents with impeccable training as an intern with Rene Redzepi of Noma fame and closer to home with Ben Shrewy at Attica.
Srishti’s dish, ‘Famer’s Table’ is an ode to rich, ancient Indian cuisine, Nihari, that goes far beyond a traditional curry; Shristi asks;
“Indian cuisine has been tagged as a ‘curry cuisine’ globally. The genesis of India is based on cultural diversity so how can the food be monotone?”
Nihari’ originates from the Arabic word ‘Nihar’ meaning “morning” and is a dish that people eat as a breakfast course to stay energetic. Srishti’s Nihar makes the humble carrot an integral part of the dish. The carrot tops have been used in a ‘chutney’, the length of the carrot has been used as a vessel for the Nihari as well as scales on top. Srishti says’;
“This dish translates to me as a memory that sparks joy in my heart, evokes a sense of nostalgia and keeps me afloat during tough times. I hope the emotions and meaning that I’m trying to convey through this dish, reaches people and takes them to a wonderland of their own special memories where life is beautiful and simple joys lead to contentment.”
Robin Wagner, currently at Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, intends to reframe how we look at vegan food.
Robin’s primary focus is to give every guest the same experience, doesn’t matter if they prefer meat, fish or vegetables and he says:
“What I love about creating a vegan dish is ‘the challenge and the commitment for myself’ to create a dish that is on the same level even though they may include luxurious ingredients such as lobster, caviar, and abalone. Furthermore, I think vegetarian or vegan dishes are widely underestimated as well by chefs and by guests. A vegan dish, served at the right time throughout a degustation menu has the potential of being the most memorable dish of the entire menu.”
Robin has enjoyed a mercurial rise in his career to date, working in fine dining Michelin-ranked establishments in Europe (Restaurant Vendrome and Villa Merton) to some of Australia’s most venerable kitchens (Lake House Daylesford and Sepia Sydney).
Leidy Maldonado is by comparison – just commencing her career, but this does not dim her passion her expertise. Leidy is preparing ‘Ensalada de Payaso – or clown salad. A native Columbian dish is so called because of the assemblage of fresh, colourful, seasonal ingredients.
This year, the 2022 Australian judges include Jacqui Challinor, Executive Chef, NOMAD and Josh Niland, the inspired fish butcher and multi-award-winning Chef Peter Gilmore of Quay Restaurant.
Each grounded in their own distinct culinary style, the judges are equally passionate about using food as a tool to not only ‘give back’ to the community but further connect communities.
Delivering a radical approach to back-to-nature, Peter Gilmore, the King of Vegetables, has been at the helm of Sydney’s Quay Restaurant since 2001, where it has ranked in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants multiple times.
Jacqui Challinor raised $149,000 in two days following the NSW Bush Fire Crisis as a donation for the Australian Red Cross Bush Fire Appeal. Josh Niland has a revolutionary zero-waste approach to butchering and serving fish.
All 10 of the 2022 Pacific Region S.Pellegrino Young Chefs will gather to compete at the Sydney Fish Markets on Monday, 17th October 2022 to spend the day preparing and serving their dishes for judging. The dishes will be ranked accordingly with the winner to be announced that evening at the Gala Dinner at Seta Restaurant, emceed by hospitality advocate, writer and reviewer, Dani Valent.
The winner of the Pacific Region Finalists will then compete in Milan, Italy in 2023 and will be judged by a stellar line-up of international chefs. Previous international judges have included Enrico Bartolini, Manu Buffara, Andreas Caminada, Mauro Colagreco, Gavin Kaysen, Clare Smyth and Pim Techamuanvivit.
In addition to the S.Pellegrino Young Chef award, three other Pacific finalists will also receive awards – Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility, and Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy.
Collectively they will judge dishes based on technical skill, creativity, and personal belief, as well as the candidates’ potential to create positive change in society through food.
The Regional judging panels will select regional winners of the following four awards:
Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award: Voted by the online Fine Dining Lovers community – this award will be for the young chef who best represents their personal belief within their dish.
S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility: Voted by an internationally recognised voice on sustainability in food – this dish will represent the principle that food is best when it’s the result of socially responsible practices.
Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy: Voted by mentors who represent 50 countries around the world – the winning dish will be the one that reflects a connection between different cultures on the plate, celebrating a global approach to gastronomy.
S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award: Voted by the esteemed panel of Seven Sages – this winning chef must demonstrate unrivalled technical skills as well as genuine creativity. They will have also displayed a strong personal belief about Gastronomy which will convince the Jury about their ability to become a catalyst for positive change.