Meet the regional winners
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Meet the Winners of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022-23 Regional Finals

Discover all the results of the regional finals as they happen.

On this page, you’ll find news of all the winners of the 15 regional finals for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022-23. From each final, four young talents will progress and compete for the global prizes: one chosen by the local jury of renowned chefs, who will cook again at the Grand Finale in Milan in 2023 for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award, and three who will compete for collateral prizes – the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award, voted for by the Sustainable Restaurant Association; the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award, voted for by the competition mentors; and the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, voted for by Fine Dining Lovers readers.

 

The regional finals will continue throughout autumn and winter 2022 and early into 2023, with this page being updated accordingly, as the winners are chosen.

 

Latin America & Caribbean

West Europe

Central Europe

United Kingdom

Pacific

Canada

North Europe

US

Mainland China

Asia

South East Europe & Mediterranean

Iberian Countries

Africa, Middle East & South Asia

Latin America & Caribbean

 

Erick Bautista from Mexico has been named as the best young chef in the Latin America & Caribbean region at the regional final in Bogotá, Colombia. The chef from Oaxaca impressed the local jury of Lula Martín del Campo, Arlette Eulert, Helena Rizzo, Debora Fadul and Rodolfo Guzmán with his signature dish of ‘Oaxaca su tierra y sus manos’ and will travel to the Grand Finale in Milan in 2023. 

 

Speaking after his win, Bautista said: “S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 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 to me. I will always be grateful to him”.

 

Three other young chefs from the region were awarded and will now compete for the global collateral prizes: Xchel González, also from Mexico, winner of the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for his signature dish, ‘Chinampas’; Aranxa Troestch from Panama, winner of the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for her signature dish, ‘Ubaldina’; and María Guadalupe Elizeche from Paraguay, who won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for her signature dish, ‘Mi Evolución de Nuestra Cultura’.

 

Latam winners

West Europe

 

Raul Garcia, representing Switzerland, has been named the best young chef in the West Europe region for his signature dish of ‘Pike perch, mussels, artichoke, vin jaune, barigoule nage’.

 

Garcia was chosen from 10 hopeful young chefs by the local jury of Stefan Heilemann, Léa Linster, Tim Boury, Mary Nohazic and David Martin at the regional final in Brussels, and will progress to the Grand Finale in Milan.

 

"With this dish, I actually want to transfer all my passion and love to the detail. From the first step to the last arrangement of the flower. How many thoughts have gone into this dish? How to use everything from an animal. How can I best transmit my emotions to the guest? The filigree and delicacy of the dish. But in the end, it's the taste that counts, that's my priority," says Garcia.

 

It was almost a full house for Switzerland with Diego Sgarbossa and Gianmarco Pallotta claiming the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility and the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award respectively for their dishes of ‘Grilled tripe, roots and bitter herbs’ and 'Cappelletti stuffed with grilled Swiss rabbit, its jus, bisque, rabbit porchetta, and Sicilian red shrimp and baby vegetables'. Belgium's Valerio Borriero was awarded the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy for his dish, 'Pigeon from “Des Collines”, bicolor ravioli filled with carbonnade, and roasted onion consommé'.

 

All three winners of the collateral prizes will now go on to compete for the global prizes.

 

West Eu winners

Central Europe

 

Anton Lebersorger from Germany has taken the title of the best young chef in the Central Europe region for his signature dish ‘Bresse chicken, carrot from “Schmiedener Feld”, kimchi, and Thai béarnaise’.

 

The young chef impressed the local jury of Christoph KunzJulia KompTim Raue and Daniel Gottschlich at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022-23 regional final in Cologne and will progress to the Grand Finale in Milan. There he will battle it out with 14 other talents for the title of best young chef in the world. 

 

In addition, Lebersorger was also awarded the collateral Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award, which is given to the chef who best connects different cultures on the plate.

 

Speaking of his double award-winning dish, Lebesborger says: “This dish is my handwriting, it is all the experiences I collected over the years in every kitchen I worked, starting from what my mother cooked for me when I was a child.” 

 

Two other young chefs were also awarded collateral prizes and will battle it out for global titles: Saskia Vorhemus won the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for her dish ‘What nature gives us’ while Mary Anne Peñaloza Villafuerte won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for her dish ‘Pork neck with ‘hogao‘, tamarind and guacamole’.

 

Central Europe winners

United Kingdom

 

Marcus Clayton has been named the best young chef in the UK for his signature dish of ‘Celeriac, apple and mushroom’ at the UK regional final in London. 

 

The young English chef impressed the local jury of chefs Francesco MazzeiSally AbéClaude BosiLisa Goodwin-AllenSkye Gyngell and Sat Bains with his purely vegetarian dish and was surprised and delighted that he will now be cooking it again, at the competition Grand Finale in Milan in 2023. 

 

“It's a bit surreal. I only expected to cook this dish once”, said Clayton after his win was announced. “I dig this dish and I'm very pleased the judges like it, especially as it's vegetarian. I want to push vegetables forward.”

 

Three other talented young chefs were also winners, picking up the collateral prizes, and will now go on to battle it out for global titles: Imogen Parrish received the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility for her sustainability-focused signature dish of ‘Crab bisque, crab and preserved lemon Chantilly, fennel and tomato concasse’; Harry van Lierop picked up the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy for his nostalgic ‘Growing up’; and Swann Auffray won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for his inventive 'Wild sea bass, cherry and fennel’.

 

UK FINALISTS

Pacific

 

Robin Wagner has been named the best young chef in the Pacific region for his signature dish of ‘Smoked celeriac, Granny Smith apple and crispy taro’ at the regional final in Sydney. 

 

Having impressed the local jury of chefs Josh NilandJacqui Challinor and Peter Gilmore, the young chef representing Australia will now travel to the competition Grand Finale in Milan in 2023. There he will cook the dish again for the Grand Jury of world-renowned chefs known as the Seven Sages, under the guidance of mentor Scott Huggins

 

“What I think really impressed us about Robin's dish was the depth of flavour and texture from simple and humble ingredients that danced across the palette," said Gilmore. "It’s an outstanding dish, the kind that you’d find in a restaurant and you’d come back to have it again and again."

 

Three other young chefs also emerged victorious from the regional final, picking up collateral prizes: Alexis Belmas won the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for his continent-straddling dish ‘Western breeze over Oz’; Jackson Mehlhopt, representing New Zealand and the only chef winner not representing Australia, picked up the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his dish 'The southern Kiwi deer and its surroundings'; and Leidy Carolina Maldonado Ramirez won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for her Colombia-inspired 'Ensalada de payaso ('clown salad')'. All three will now battle it out for global titles.

 

Pacific winners

Canada

 

Pierre Olivier Pelletier has been named the best young chef in Canada for his signature dish, ‘Young aged and smocked duck with sweet grass, yellow birch syrup lacquer with crispy cereal, carothene dressing, roasted cereal gravy, and “verge d’or”’.

 

Pelletier won over the local jury of chefs Christine Cushing, Suzanne Barr and Patrick Kriss at the regional final in Toronto and will now go on to battle it out with the other global young chef finalists for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award at the Grand Finale in Milan.

 

Speaking about his winning dish the young chef said: "I invented this plate in honour of the hard work of my father and my mother. My father always worked in the cereal world. I also put carrot because when I was young my mother had a big garden with a lot of carrots. I didn't really like them at the time; now it's one of my favourite vegetables. Also, duck is my favorite animal protein."

 

Three further young chefs also triumphed on the night, picking up collateral prizes: Kali Fawcett won the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for her Italian-inspired dish, ‘Love among the lovage’; Ben Miller received the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his vegan ‘Fallon’s mane’ dish; and Samy Benabed picked up the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for his dish, ‘Poule de soie ti-coq’, an ode to rotisserie chicken.

 

Canada winners

North Europe

 

Jet Loos, originally from the Netherlands but representing Norway has been named the best young chef in the North Europe region for her signature dish, ‘Flavour of the sea’.

 

Loos impressed at the regional final in Copenhagen, with the local jury of chefs Tommy Myllymäki, Kamilla Seidler, Heidi Pinnak, Jacob Jan Boerma and 2015 S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award winner Mark Moriarty choosing her as the overall winner. She will now travel to the Grand Finale in Milan in 2023.

 

“I come from the Netherlands and I work now in Norway, and I want to bring the best of both worlds together,” said Loos after her win. “I used Norwegian cod and scallops, the best seafood of Norway, I used potato because in the Netherlands we eat a lot of potatoes – and also in Norway.”

 

Three other awards were also given out on the night: Nils Flatmark from Norway received the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for his dish, ‘From the local farm’; Niko Tähti from Finland picked up the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his Lapland-inspired ‘Reindeer on the edge of a misty swamp’; and Mexican chef Sebastian Garcia Jimenez, representing the Faroe Islands, won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for his ‘Ceviche con tostada’.

 

North Europe winners

US

 

Daniel Garwood has been named the best young chef in the US for his Korean-inspired signature dish, 'Aged duck and persimmon in tak cheongju with banchan through the eyes of a traveler,' at the US regional final in New York.

 

The local jury, consisting of chefs Sean Brock, Adrienne Cheatham, Philip Tessier, Nina Compton and Ignacio Mattos, chose Garwood as the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award winner for the region, sealing his place at the Grand Finale in Milan in 2023. There he will compete for the title of best young chef in the world.

 

Speaking about his creation, Garwood said: “This dish is a story and reflection of my life as a chef. Typically, banchan (Korean side dish) is a variety of small dishes accompanying a main dish, generally reflecting the area they come from. Each banchan will reflect a moment in my life through places that I have travelled, as well as beliefs found along the way, whilst maintaining my rules and ethics of clean and fair food that’s locally sourced in a sustainable way.”

 

Three other young chefs also came away with awards: Jack Stewart won the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for his 'Leek and quail yolk ravioli'; Michael Park won the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award with another Korean-inspired dish, 'The Textures of Korea – Uniting North & South'; and Laura Arrojo won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for her dish, 'Socarrat with fish galleys and royal sea cucumber.'

 

USA winners

Mainland China

 

Yi Zhang has been named the best young chef in Mainland China for her signature dish ‘A trip to Guangxi’ at the regional final in Shanghai.  

 

Zhang impressed the local jury of chefs Jacqueline Qiu, Zhang Yong, DeAille Tam, Stefan Stiller and Stefano Bacchelli and will now go on to compete for the global S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award 2022-23 at the Grand Finale.  

 

Speaking of the inspiration behind her vegetarian signature dish, Zhang said: “I want to [commemorate] my first trip to Guangxi, a mountainous region with rich cultural resources. Bamboo is an important material there. I went to several villages deep in the mountains. The weather makes moss grow everywhere. People there are poor and still using self-made charcoals for cooking and to stay warm, so the smell of smoke hung in the air. But what touched me is [their] kindness. The flavour of my dish is based on a famous noodle in Guangxi, [called] ‘old friend’, and I use some fermented ingredients which are also common in Guangxi cuisine.

 

Zhang also picked up the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award on the night, whilst He-Sen Liu won the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his dish ‘Homemade oyster sauce with Shandong Wagyu’ and Binshu Zhao won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for a dish of carp and lamb called ‘Coexistence’.

 

China Finalists

Asia

 

Ian Goh has been named the best young chef in the Asia region for his signature dish ‘Heritage lamb'.

 

Goh wowed the local jury of chefs Thitid 'Ton' Tassanakajohn, Pichaya 'Pam' Utharntharm, Daniel Calvert, Vanessa Huang and Dave Pynt at the Asia regional final in Singapore and will now be heading to the Grand Finale in Milan in 2023.

 

Speaking about the dish, Goh said: “This dish began with my love of lamb, and the hope to highlight my Hainanese heritage. Lamb has been a staple of the Hainanese diet (i.e. Dongshan lamb) and it is featured [here] alongside ingredients and techniques that link the East with the West. Taking inspiration from the Spice Route, also known as the Maritime Silk Roads, I have utilised spices such as cumin, fennel, Szechuan peppercorns and ginger, all of which were known and used in antiquity and traded in Asia."

 

It was a double win on the night for the chef representing Singapore, with him also scooping the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award. He was joined on the podium by Xu Yu Chan, also representing Singapore, who won the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for his dish 'Memories of hometown Assam laksa' and Yi Chung Chiu, representing Taiwan, who won the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his dish 'The grace of the Tibetan forest'.

 

asia winners

South East Europe & Mediterranean

 

Gregory Kikis has been named as the winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award and the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award at the South-East Europe regional final in Zagreb, Croatia.

 

Greek chef Kikis was chosen by the local jury of chefs Jeffrey J VellaAvivit Priel AvivchaiGeorgianna HiliadakiIwona Niemczewska and Oana Coanta for his self-explanatory signature dish ‘The story of cod’ and will now go on to compete for the global titles in Milan. This was the fourth time Kikis had applied to the competition and he was understandably ecstatic after his win.

 

“First of all, I’m so happy because I’m part of this family. The Academy is amazing and very important for me because I’m a very young chef and the support is something very important for me and I feel good. Never give up your dreams,” he said.

 

He wasn’t the only victorious young chef. Žiga Koprivc, representing Slovenia, picked up the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for his patriotic trout dish 'Just the two of us' while Ivan Tartaro, representing Croatia, won the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his autumn-inspired dish ‘Grounded roots’.

 

 

See winners

Iberian Countries

 

Nelson Freitas, representing Portugal, has been named the best young chef in the Iberian Countries for his signature dish, 'Crispy red mullet, sea urchin and homemade black garlic'.

 

Freitas wowed the local jury of chefs Miguel RochaMaca de Castro and Eduard Xatruch with his seafood-focused dish at the regional final in Barcelona and will now progress to the Grand Finale in Milan for a chance to be named best young chef in the world. 

 

"My favourite part of my childhood was the sea so that was my main inspiration. I really want to transmit the ocean to everyone who tries the dish... I want everyone to feel that flavour, that memory," said Freitas.

 

Also on the night: Artur Gomes, again representing Portugal, won the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for his dish, ‘Vale das Lobas” Celeriac’; Francesco Sansalonerepresenting Spain, won the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his global dish, ‘The World Is a Country’; and Danitza Alpaca Salinas, also representing Spain, picked up the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for her dish, ‘Countryside shrimp'.

 

Iberian Countries

Africa, Middle East & South Asia

 

Mythrayie Iyer, from India, has been selected as the best young chef in the Africa, Middle East and South Asia region for her signature dish, ‘Barter - Evolution of Indian cooking through the age of exploration’, and will now go on to the compete at the Grand Finale.

 

The young chef from FarmLore restaurant in Bangalore impressed the local jury of chefs Tala Bashmi, Selassie Atadika and Siba Mtongana with a dish that represented India’s culinary journey, although the chef herself dislikes the term ‘Indian cuisine’.

 

“I don't particularly believe in a cuisine as such. I think the terroir determines what we grow and what we eat. So indirectly the message was to say that there's nothing called 'cuisine', you just need to see what's around you and celebrate,” she said.

 

Speaking of her win, she said: “[The competition] is a great platform to showcase what we have as a country and to put our philosophy forward. The point was not to win. The point was to make connections, to come here and have fun.”

 

Three other young chefs were also triumphant at the regional final, picking up collateral awards: Zanté Neethling, from South Africa, won the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award for her dish, ‘Strandveld ecosystem’; Aureliand Durand, from France but representing United Arab Emirates, picked up the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award for his dish, ‘Life starts at the end of your comfort zone’; and Kareem Atef, from Egypt, won the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for his dish, ‘Egyptian delight’.

 

photo of the four chef finalists of Africa Middle East & South Asia

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