The most exciting talent search for young chefs in the world, created by the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy to nurture the future of Gastronomy, came to an exhilarating close on the evening of Saturday 30th October. During the Grand Finale of S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2019-21, after rounds of competitive cooking, Jerome Ianmark Calayag, representing the UK and Northern Europe Region, has been announced as the winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award 2019-21. Jerome’s impressive “Humble vegetables” Signature Dish conceived in partnership with his mentor, David Ljungqvist, wowed the esteemed Grand Jury with his choice of ingredients, his skills, genius, beauty of the dish and message behind the plate, beating entries from 9 other talented chefs from around the world.
In winning the prestigious title, Jerome Ianmark Calayag goes down in history alongside previous champions Mark Moriarty (2015), Mitch Lienhard (2016) and Yasuhiro Fujio (2018) but, most importantly, stands as a beacon of opportunity as he embarks on a stimulating journey to help shape the gastronomy of tomorrow. Chosen by the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition’s Grand Jury made up of six giants of global gastronomy – Enrico Bartolini, Manu Buffara, Andreas Caminada, Mauro Colagreco, Gavin Kaysen, Clare Smyth – Jerome captivated the panel who were also enthralled with the overall standard of competition. The S.Pellegrino family expresses gratitude to Pim Techamuanvivit who with her experience contributed positively to the competition, within its different phases, and who due to pandemic restrictions wasn’t able to fly to Italy for the Grand Finale event.
This year’s competition introduced three new awards that complement the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award and reflect S.Pellegrino’s belief in and support of the transformative power of gastronomy and its impact beyond the kitchen. Elissa Abou Tasse, representing the Africa and Middle East Region, with “Adam’s garden” is the winner of the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy, recognizing her ability to prepare a Signature Dish with ingredients that highlighted the richness of her own cultural background and reflecting the perfect connection among different cultures. Callan Austin, from the Africa and Middle East Region, with “The ghost net” received the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility, assigned by Food Made Good to the chef who put forward the recipe that best represented the principle of food as a result of socially responsible practices. And finally, the online community of Fine Dining Lovers assigned its Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award to Andrea Ravasio, from the Iberian and Mediterranean Countries, as the young chef who best represented his personal belief within his “El domingo del campesino” Signature Dish.
The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition is the key activity of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy project, launched by S.Pellegrino last year, with the aim of nurturing the future of gastronomy by discovering young talents and empowering them with a plan of education, mentoring and experience opportunities. This edition of the Competition was more impressive than ever, seeing applicants from all over the world. 135 young chefs passed the preliminary selections and took part in live cook-offs in front of international jury panels from the participating countries of the 12 regions. The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition Regional Winners arrived at the Grand Finale after a mentorship path during which, thanks to the support of a Senior Chef, they were able to refine their signature dishes.
The 3 days event culminated in a special gala dinner. The gastronomy giant Massimo Bottura with his team – Takahiko Kondo, Riccardo Forapani, Francesco Vincenzi, Jessica Rosval and Bernardo Paladini – let the guests experience the true spirit of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy, an environment made of talent, creativity, innovation, passion and professionalism. Massimo Bottura, as a Master of Ceremony and an inspiring Mentor, stood side by side with the five chefs, to create five unique and exclusive culinary moments, each one condensing the style, the spirit and the history of his team.
Stefano Bolognese, Sanpellegrino International Business Unit Director: “We are really proud of the Grand Finale event that offered us the opportunity to reconnect in person and to see some truly phenomenal culinary talents at work, to create something extraordinary together. So thanks to all of those who joined us from around the world to share the enthusiasm of these three days. It was amazing. Jerome truly shone in front of our esteemed Grand Jury, and our warmest congratulations go to him, with the wish he will bring his own passion and thinking to the table to help shape the gastronomy of tomorrow. We also want to thank all the young talents, protagonists of this inspiring journey and already members of our S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy: they are the game changers of the future and we wish them the best of luck and a dazzling career. Our search for creative talents doesn’t stop and we can’t wait to announce more details about the next edition of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition”.