When it comes to gastronomy, Milan is one of the world’s great epicenters and home to many of Italy’s best restaurants and chefs. As the seat of the annual 50 Best Restaurants awards, hosted by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the leading beverage company also hosts the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition, with applications open for the 2022/23 season on February 7.
This global initiative aims to discover and nurture the brilliant minds of the food industry, those capable of pushing the boundaries of gastronomy and create positive change in their societies.
Taking part in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition is also a unique opportunity to enter a longstanding, ambitious and visionary project, through which S.Pellegrino contributes to the evolution of the culinary community, identifying talents who will form the next generation of chefs. The competition is the ideal context for all culinary game changers eager to challenge themselves and demonstrate their ability in creating the finest taste experiences.
The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022/23 will offer young chefs the opportunity to start an inspiring and educational journey, gaining global visibility and significant professional prestige during the whole selection process, and that culminates in the Grand Finale planned for 2023. For the most recent edition, some 300 talented young chefs and mentors, from 50 different countries and regions, worked together to improve their signature dishes, which were not simply recipes, but real ideas for a sustainable and inclusive culinary revolution. At the end it was British chef Jerome Ianmark Calayag who triumphed with his signature dish Humble Vegetables.
Italian chef and entrepreneur Cristina Bowerman also hosted at the Grand Finale an exclusive session for young female chefs focused on women’s representation and diversity in professional kitchens. Acclaimed Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez also took to the stage to talk about the power of local communities and indigenous flavours, while culinary maestro Massimo Bottura shared his mission to tackle food waste through his non-profit organisation Food for Soul.
“The competition, originally conceived as an international scouting project, has evolved over the past two years into an authentic, permanent training and networking laboratory: the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy,” believes Stefano Bolognese, Sanpellegrino’s International Business Unit Director. “The whole project conveys our commitment to pushing continuous evolution within the gastronomy world, which today represents an extraordinary space to spread universal values, such as sustainability, responsibility, inclusivity, resilience and beauty,” he said.
As with previous editions, in the first selection phase applications will be evaluated by the International School of Italian Culinary Arts (ALMA). ALMA will define a shortlist of Young Chefs who will participate in one of the 16 Regional Finals that will take place throughout the globe over the second half of 2022.
Regional finalists will be officially in the running for the coveted title of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award 2022-23, and which will boost their careers and grant them worldwide recognition. Applicants will also compete for three additional awards, which recognize the young chefs’ varied beliefs and approaches to create positive change in society through food.
The four awards are as follows:
S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award: it is the main competition award, voted for by the Seven Sages, an esteemed panel of internationally renowned chefs. The winning chef will have to demonstrate unrivaled technical skills, as well as genuine creativity. The young talent should also display a strong personal belief regarding gastronomy that will convince the Jury of their ability to become a catalyst for positive change.
S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility: voted by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which runs Food Made Good, the largest foodservice sustainability program and global community for driving sustainability in hospitality, this dish will represent the principle that food is at its best when it’s the result of socially responsible practices, encompassing sourcing, social and environmental requirements. Submissions to this award are judged according to 8 criteria: resource use, climate impact, biodiversity, food waste, nutrition, collaboration, advocacy, innovation.
Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy: voted for by Mentors, the winner of this award will produce a dish that represents the culinary heritage of the native region. The dish should highlight traditional culinary practises and personal modern vision, providing a connection between the past and the future.
Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award: voted for by the online Fine Dining Lovers community, this award will be for the young chef who will be able to best represent his/her personal belief within his/her signature dish.
All chefs, age 30 years or under, have the chance to register for the Academy Competition at www.sanpellegrinoyoungchefacademy.com from February 7 to April 30, 2022, providing personal and professional information and submitting the recipe of a signature dish able to communicate their personal vision, unique skills, and creativity.