Asparagus dish on a fancy blu plate.

Chef Watch: what the young chefs are up to

Discover the latest news on S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy finalists, from new restaurant openings to media appearances.

The Academy likes to keep you posted on all the things that have been happening to the young chefs and the successes they’ve had, whether that be before, during or after the competition. Chef Watch is the place to find out all the latest news about the Academy’s young chefs, including new restaurant openings and roles, media exposure or exciting new collaborations. Find out what the Academy’s young chefs have been up to below.

Sean MacDonald

A composite image of a smiling male chef and a plate of food.

Chef Sean MacDonald, finalist for the North America region at S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016, has just opened his first restaurant. Est is located in the Riverside area of Toronto and is focused on small plates, with a frequently changing menu “influenced by the many cultures within Canada’s borders”, and wine from all over the world. With just 30 covers, it’s an intimate space and a great place to watch this hugely exciting chef work close-up.

Vusi Ndlovu

A composite image of a male chef and a plate of food.

Ndlovu, a finalist in the 2018 competition, will open a new fine dining restaurant in Franschhoek on South Africa’s Western Cape this winter. EDGE will focus on “underutilised ingredients, progressive techniques and recipes passed down over generations,” and will “celebrate Africa holistically.” Ndlovu, who co-founded the African Food Library in 2020 to preserve and promote African culture and cuisine, will put a contemporary twist on indigenous ingredients, whilst the restaurant will also host a monthly industry night to help bring the food community together.

Levente Koppány

A composite image of a male chef and a restaurant dining room.

Another chef embarking on an exciting new venture is Levente Koppány, finalist for the Central Europe region at the upcoming competition Grand Finale in Milan in October. Having recently relocated from Budapest, he is now head chef at the Turul Project, a former pop-up, now bricks and mortar restaurant in North London that will be showcasing traditional Hungarian dishes with a contemporary fine dining twist, along with premium Hungarian wines. “You won’t find many restaurants serving food like this, except in Hungary,” says Koppány.

Alessandro Bergamo

Three men on a video call.

The finalist representing Italy & South East Europe at the next Young Chef Grand Finale recently took part in a live episode of the Food Talks series with Marco Montemagno, alongside boss and Academy member Carlo Cracco. Speaking about his forthcoming participation in the Bocuse d’Or, the sous chef from Cracco restaurant in Milan said preparations were “going well” and that he was training hard to “represent the Italian tradition.” Cracco, meanwhile, speaking about the relationship between established and emerging chefs said that it was one “based on sharing.” He also enthused about the passion of young chefs: “I can see a fire inside the guys.”

Albert Manso Miras and Nicolas Fagundes Galindo

Two other young chefs have also received exposure, in the press. Albert Manso Miras and Nicolas Fagundes Galindo, who are competing for the next overall title and Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, respectively, gave their opinions for a Time Out article on the best outdoor dining experiences in the world (Ibiza and Santorini). Fagundes Galindo also featured in an article on The Strategist, sharing his expert views on the best barbecues to buy.

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