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Chef Watch: A Bumper September

Find out what Academy members around the world have been up to this month.

Academy members are an ambitious, hardworking group of chefs, so the Academy is never short of things to report in Chef Watch, your monthly update on what members around the world have been up to. But September was an especially bumper month for the Academy’s young chefs, with mentoring opportunities with the world’s best chefs, restaurant openings, awards and media appearances. Dive into the action below.

Winner on the road

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2019-21 winner Jerome Ianmark Calayag travelled to Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Florence to cook with Co-Executive Chefs Karime López and Takahiko Kondo. The six-hands dinner was a celebration of a partnership between Gucci Osteria and the Academy, both of which are committed to nurturing the next generation of culinary talents in order to shape a more inclusive and sustainable future. It was overseen by Bottura himself, who also curated an exclusive playlist to compliment the meal.

New openings

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2015 Italy winner Paolo Griffa has opened his first restaurant. Paolo Griffa at the Café Nazionale in Aosta, spread over 600 square metres and housed in a historic building that includes a chapel dating back to the 14th century, will function as both a fine dining restaurant and a patisserie. The menu includes his signature blue and gold rice dish inspired by painter Marc Chagall, which Griffa recently presented on Masterchef Italia. (photo credit: Umberto Dalla Zanna)

Over in Stellenbosch, South Africa, S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility 2019-21 winner Callan Austin has also just launched a restaurant, Dusk, with long time mentor Darren Badenhorst. Austin, who will be head chef, and Badenhorst will have a strong focus on zero-waste at the restaurant (unsurprising given Austin’s commitment to sustainability), with many ingredients fermented and cured in house, plus some cheese and alcohol production handled on site too. The kitchen team will also be encouraged to create dishes from food waste in a 'weekly wastage challenge' with the best making it onto the menu.

Stirring it up

The Academy is hugely proud to report that Pippa Lovell, S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility 2019-21 UK & North Europe winner has not only been featured in Stir it Up magazine talking about healthy eating but has also just picked up a UNESCO biosphere award for engagement, which celebrates those working towards a more sustainable future. Speaking on Instagram, Lovell said: “I couldn't be more proud of my team, my customer[s], my community and do you know what? Myself!” Congratulations Pippa!

A busy month

Also, this month, Gabriela Ruiz Lugo, who participated in the Latin America & Caribbean Regional Final of S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2015 fulfilled a lifelong dream by appearing on Iron Chef Mexico. Speaking on Instagram, the Mexican chef said of her Netflix appearance: “Dream big, work hard and enjoy the moment, dreams will always come true.”


And in New Zealand, chef Jason Kim, a Pacific regional finalist at S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2018 made an appearance at the K-Festival in Auckland, which celebrates all things Korean, taking to the stage for a cooking demonstration. A lot going on in September then. Will October be even busier? Check back next month to find out.


A lot going on in September then. Will October be even busier? Check back next month to find out.

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