Erick Bautista was named the winner of the S.Pellegrino regional final of the Young Chef Academy competition, held at Universidad de la Sabana in Bogotá and that culminated in a ceremony at the W Hotel on September 20.
A rising star of Mexican gastronomy, Bautista and 13 other contestants engaged in rounds of competitive cooking, all showing outstanding culinary skills and proof that many of the most talented young chefs in the world hail from Latin America and Caribbean. Bautista will compete in the Grand Finale in Milan in 2023 after winning the tournament with “Oaxaca su tierra y sus manos,” his specialty dish.
“The Young Chef Academy was an incredible experience, where I was able to meet amazing people and get to know my coach Rodolfo Castellanos, who opened the doors of his restaurant, and I will always be grateful to him” remarked Bautista at an awards ceremony attended by well-known Colombian restaurateurs, media representatives and chefs whose careers were established thanks to S.Pellegrino’s support and recognition. The top award was handed out by Stefano Bolognese, the company’s international business director.
To help Erick Bautista on his journey to next year’s Grand Finale in Milan, he has been assigned the chef and entrepreneur Lula Martin del Campo as his mentor, and who will provide additional skills and insights on how to improve his Oaxaca-inspired dish ahead of the international finals.
As with the 2019/21 edition, the current competition also plays host to three additional awards alongside the main prize: the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility, voted for by the Sustainable Restaurant Association which runs the Food Made Good program, the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy voted for by the competition mentors, and Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award voted for by Fine Dining Lovers readers.
Together with Erick Bautista, who won the opportunity to compete for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award 2022-23, there are a three young chefs who were also awarded at the regional final and now one step closer to reaching the Grand Finale in Milan, Italy.
S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility: Xchel González from México with his signature dish “Chinampas”.
Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy: Aranxa Troestch from Panama with her signature dish “Ubaldina”.
Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award: María Guadalupe Elizeche from Paraguay with her signature dish “Mi Evolución de Nuestra Cultura”.
The regional final also included the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy “Brain Food” Forum, an inspiring exchange of knowledge and ideas between young chefs and some of the greatest chefs in the world, curated by Fine Dining Lovers. Launched for the first time during the Grand Finale of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2019/2021, it is a global format that offers insights across varying themes with the aim of providing direct access to knowledge from international figures in the hospitality industry.
The forum at Universidad de la Sabana was led by Paola Miglio and focused on Taste and Creativity. Helena Rizzo, Debora Fadul, Lula Martin del Campo, Arlette Eulert, Rodolfo Guzmán, Karissa Becerra, Sebastian Pinzón, and Xrysw Ruelas were among the panelists, and who discussed different topics relating to Taste and Creativity such as innovation, ways of transmitting personal beliefs through gastronomy, and implementation of sustainable practices in food.
Founded in 1899, Sanpellegrino S.p.A. is the leading company in the beverage sector in Italy with its range of mineral waters, non-alcoholic aperitifs and drinks. The legendary well’s sparkling drinks are distributed in over 150 countries on five continents.