Mitch Lienhard: “I’ll work hard to influence American gastronomy”

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 Mitch Lienhard shares his thoughts just after the event. Chef Mentor Dominique Crenn: 'The American food legacy starts today.'

Congratulations to Mitch Lienhard, who was named winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 by the Grand Jury of Seven Sages. "I’m very very very happy, I feel incredible and relieved," declared the overcome young chef representing the USA.

"The American food legacy starts today with Mitch Lienhard," announced his mentor Dominique Crenn, currently recognised as the World's Best Female Chef 2016. The American candidate expressed his pride: "It’s always been a dream of mine to influence the future American gastronomy and I’ll work hard to get there."

Throughout the prestigious night the three super-finalists, Shintaro Awa (France), David Andrés (Spain and Portugal) and Mitch Lienhard (USA), worked their hardest to impress the Grand Jury, made up of Mauro Colagreco, Elena Arzak, Carlo Cracco, David Higgs, Gaggan Anand, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack. But it was Mitch Lienhard who amazed each juror with his dish "Roasted Duck with Spiced Orange & Yam".

"The best broth in the competition and the tenderness of the duck was impressive," emphasised the two Michelin star Mauro Colagreco. "The delicate broth was beautiful and the duck was cooked to perfection, everything worked," exclaimed chef and juror David Higgs. It was Elena Arzak who offered the most glowing report: "We will never forget the aroma of your dish." "The smell of burning autumn leaves from my home state of Michigan," recounted Lienhard.

A big win for the USA

"I enjoyed the amazing journey as a mentor, I loved helping him become a better version of himself," explained Dominique Crenn. "Mitch is a great person and we were friends before and we have a lot of mutual respect. All throughout the competition he has done everything to improve."

The mentor was very enthusiastic for "this big win for the USA," which has "a lot of unknown talent." Thanks to the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 "we’ve been able to say: we are here!" According to Mitch Lienhard the key to success is "to work hard, plan a lot, focus and be extremely organized."

A close match with Spain and Portugal

The two other finalists also did a great job and touched the Grand Jury with the beauty of their plates and the choice of their ingredients. Even if it was the American candidate that won, it was a close match confessed the juror Mauro Colagreco: "The decision wasn’t unanimous, we deliberated a lot over the Spain and Portugal candidate." In a nod to the French, Mitch Lienhard and his native French mentor promised to celebrate "with a lot of Champagne."

In the meantime they celebrated in italian style, the day after, by popping a bottle of Ferrari's finest Trentodoc.

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