S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25
Share
share

Meet the Local Juries for S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25

These are the chefs who will choose the regional winners.

 

 

On this page you will find details about the Local Juries for the 15 Regional Finals of S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25. The page will be updated as the Local Juries are announced. 

At each Regional Final, the first stage of the Competition, a jury of revered local chefs will judge the signature dishes of the young hopefuls. This local jury will then choose a regional winner, who will go on to cook off against the other 14 regional winners at the Grand Finale in Milan in 2025, for a chance to be crowned the best young chef in the world.  
 

Interested in applying or know someone that is? Applications are open for this edition of the Competition until 19 June 2024. More details, including how to apply, can be found here.  
 

The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition is the world’s greatest culinary talent search; a chance for young chefs to share their unique vision with the world through a signature dish, and to help shape the future of gastronomy. 

Click on the area below to find out more about each Local Jury. 
 

ITALY

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES

SOUTH EAST EUROPE & MEDITERRANEAN

PACIFIC

USA

WEST EUROPE

CENTRAL EUROPE

CANADA

ITALY

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25 Italy Jury


Giancarlo Perbellini 

Perbellini grew up in a food family. In 1989, at the age of 26, he opened the Perbellini restaurant in Isola Rizza, which went on to win two Michelin stars. An entrepreneurial chef, he has many restaurants, most recently Locanda Perbellini ai Beati in Garda. Since January 2024, he has been Executive Chef of the UK’s Pasta Evangelists brand. He is also a published author.  
 

Matteo Metullio 

Having worked with Norbert Niederkofler at Alta Badia, Metullio arrived at La Siriola, the restaurant of the Ciasa Salares hotel in the Dolomites at the turn of 2012/13, bringing in chef friend Davide De Pra to work alongside him. The Michelin Guide confirmed a star in 2013, before a second followed in 2017. The duo are now executive chefs at two-star Harry’s Trieste. Among the cornerstones of his cooking philosophy is the constant search for and exaltation of excellent raw materials without territorial limits.  
 

Karime López 

Born and raised in Querétaro, north of Mexico City, chef Karime López leads, alongside, Takahiko Kondo, Michelin-starred Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Florence. Her passion for food has led her to work in the most prestigious kitchens around the world: from Spain (Can Fabes in Catalonia) to Mexico (Pujol in Mexico City), from Peru (as sous chef at Central in Lima) to Japan (RyuGin in Tokyo), before landing at Osteria Francescana in Modena and then, finally, at Gucci Osteria in 2018.
 

Isabella Potì 

Born in Rome, Potì showed passion and aptitude for cooking from an early age. After attending hotel school in Lecce, her career took off in London alongside her teacher Claude Bosi. Her talent then took her to Spain, where she studied with Paco Torreblanca and Martín Berasategui, to Copenhagen at Geranium, and to Menton at Mirazur. Together with her partner, Floriano Pellegrino, she founded the one-Michelin-starred restaurant Bros' in Lecce, Salento.  
 

Davide Di Fabio   

After attending hotel management school in San Benedetto del Tronto, Di Fabio began working in Modena in 2005, at Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana. In 2021, he became the chef at the Michelin-starred Dalla Gioconda restaurant in Gabicce Monte. He likes dishes with a real and direct flavour, but with deep roots in the imagination. 

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES

Latin America & Caribbean Countries jurors


Janaína Torres 

A Brazilian culinary powerhouse with a social conscience, Torres is the chef-owner of several award-winning gastronomic businesses in the same São Paulo neighbourhood where she grew up. A Casa do Porco was born in 2015 and has become one of the most sought-after dining experiences in the region, offering inspiring tasting menus at affordable prices and, most recently, ranking at number 12 at The World 50 Best Restaurants 2023. Torres was recognised as the Best Female Chef in Latin America in 2023 and The World's Best Female Chef in 2024. 
 

Mario Castrellón 

The chef behind Panama City's lauded Maito, along with a small empire of other restaurants in the country, is a pioneer in Central America. Castrellón's efforts to educate, empower and enlighten future generations of culinary talent looking to enter the industry are noteworthy, as is his work with charities such as the Fundación Calicanto that helps socially vulnerable women throughout Panama. Castrellón's work as a culinary pioneer, community leader and philanthropist are just some of the reasons behind his huge popularity. 
 

Gabriela Cámara 

A Mexican entrepreneur born in Chihuahua, Cámara founded Contramar in Mexico City in 1998, marking the beginning of a successful career in the restaurant industry. Betting on a simple cuisine with high-quality fresh ingredients, she expanded her gastronomic empire with the opening of Entremar and Expendio Durango. In 2021, she added Caracol de Mar and Itacate de Mar to her repertoire, consolidating the Grupo Contramar. Beyond her business success, she is committed to sustainability and social responsibility, working closely with suppliers and collaborating on projects related to responsible fishing and agriculture.  
 

James Berckemeyer 

With over 23 years of experience in the industry, Berckemeyer is a chef, entrepreneur and brand ambassador. He is the founder of the Cosme, Alado and Pánguche restaurants, studied at Cordon Bleu in Peru, and did a Master of Cooking at the ICIF (International Culinary Institute for Foreigners) in Italy. He has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world such as Agli Amici (Italy), El Celler de Can Roca (Spain) and Arzak (Spain). 
 

Dolli Irigoyen 

An Argentine chef, television presenter and author, Irigoyen has more than 50 years’ experience and currently works in her space known as Espacio Dolli, which has a test kitchen, a culinary school, an event space, a library and a store. She was a columnist for the national newspaper La Nación and has published several books, from Productos Argentino to Cocina para Todos. She participates as a judge on television programs such as MasterChef Celebrity Argentina and Bake-Off Argentina, and has chaired the Argentine committee for the Bocuse d'Or. 

SOUTH EAST EUROPE & MEDITERRANEAN

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition South East Europe Regional Jury 24-25

 

Victor Borg 

Under Grain in Valetta, Malta has held a Michelin star for five years and there, chef Borg takes great pride in offering classic, French-inspired dining with refined service. At the more casual Bib Gourmand-recognised Grain Street he has a curated an à la carte menu with European-inspired dishes featuring a selection of snacks, charcuterie and sharing plates that shows off the chef’s versatility as well as the Mediterranean island’s diverse culinary offering.  

 

Alexandru Iacob 

Iacob is one of Romania's best-known chefs. He has worked in Austria and Germany and completed a master's degree in gastronomy at the Basque Culinary Center. After returning to Romania, he won Top Chef and inspired by a trip to Mexico, opened Mat restaurant in Bucharest, together with friend chef Cristi Dascaleanu, promising the best tacos in Romania. Everything there is made in house, from the masa to home-smoked meats. 

 

Iwona Niemczewska  

Niemczewska gave up a legal career in 2010, graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in London before completing professional training at the Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon. On the premises of her former law office in Szczecin, Poland, she opened a signature restaurant Z Drugiej Strony Lustra (‘The Other Side of the Mirror’), which has been awarded two toques by Gault&Millau since 2016. In 2019 she was chosen as the Culinary Personality of the Year in Poland. She is a member of the board of Chaine des Rotisseurs Bailliage of Poland (Conseiller Culinaire) and Vice President of the Polish Culinary Chefs Association.

 

Thanos Feskos  

Feskos is co-Executive Chef at two-Michelin-starred Delta Restaurant in Athens and ex-Head Chef at Geranium in Copenhagen, which holds three Michelin stars and was named Best Restaurant in the World by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2022. Feskos started cooking at the age of 18 and left Greece aged 20 to travel the world and collect experiences. “Cooking unites people and countries,” he says. 

 

Igor Jagodic 

Jagodic has been running Michelin-starred Strelec at Ljubljana Castle since 2012 and since 2022 has been co-owner of the restaurant. Before Strelec he worked all over Slovenia and further afield in Europe and was a member of the Slovenian culinary team that won two silver medals at the 2008 Culinary Olympiad in Erfurt. He was awarded Chef of the Year 2019 by Gault&Millau and also teaches at the Ljubljana High School for Hospitality and Tourism.  

PACIFIC

Jake Kellie, Josh Niland, Rosheen Kaul, Brent Savage, Brigitte Hafner Pacific Jurors 24-25

 

Jake Kellie 

Kellie is the co-owner and Executive Chef of Arkhé, Adelaide’s first open-flame restaurant. Between 2017 and 2019, he honed his craft as Head Chef of Burnt Ends in Singapore alongside chef-owner David Pynt, driving the Australian barbecue restaurant to #53 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and its first Michelin star. Prior to this, Kellie was the winner of the Southeast Asia Regional Final for S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2018, progressing to the Grand Finale in Milan. 

 

Josh Niland 

Born and raised in Maitland, New South Wales, Niland cooked all over the world, including The Fat Duck in Bray, UK, before opening his acclaimed Sydney restaurant, Saint Peter, in 2016. There, he has led a gill-to-tail revolution in fish butchery and cooking through his innovative dishes utilising often discarded parts of the fish as well as lesser-known species and his various cookbooks. He has also opened a Fish Butchery and launched further restaurants, both in Sydney and Singapore. 

 

Rosheen Kaul 

Kaul is an author, food personality and head chef of Etta in Melbourne’s Brunswick East.  
Drawing on vibrant flavours from her childhood in Singapore and Kashmiri and Peranakan Chinese heritage, Kaul is an alumnus of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and some of Australia’s top restaurants. In 2022, Etta joined the 50 Best Discovery list, and in 2023 was awarded Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year (VIC). In 2022, Kaul co-authored her first cookbook with illustrator Joanna Hu, Chinese-ish, to widespread acclaim, winning a James Beard Media Award.  

 

Brent Savage 

Savage is chef and co-owner of Sydney's acclaimed Bentley Restaurant + Bar, among many others, consistently ranked among Australia's top 20 restaurants. In 2010, he shared his culinary expertise with the world through the cookbook, Bentley: Contemporary Cuisine, offering insights into his creative process. He has twice been awarded the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef of the Year (2005 and 2015) and has travelled the world cooking as a guest in some of the world’s best restaurants. 

 

Brigitte Hafner 

Hafner began her cooking apprenticeship under Kylie Kwong before working in the kitchens of Jacques Reymond, Greg Malouf, Guy Grossi and Stefano de Pieri. She opened the Gertrude Street Enoteca with James Broadway in 2004 before they shifted their energy to the opening of Tedesca Osteria at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula in 2020. Since then, Tedesca has been named Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant of the Year, currently holds two hats and three glasses, and continues to evolve. 

USA

Curtis Duffy, Ayesha Nurdjaja, Aisha Ibrahim, Valerie Chang, Junghyun ‘JP’ Park  USA Local Jurors 2024-25

 

Curtis Duffy 

Duffy is a renowned American chef and restaurateur who owns and operates the Ever Restaurant Group in Chicago, with Ever earning two Michelin stars and his previous venture, Grace, earning three Michelin stars from 2015 to 2018. In addition, Duffy sits on the advisory board of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, where a $25,000 scholarship in his name is awarded. In 2022, Duffy and business partner, Michael Muser, expanded their group and opened After, a dinner and cocktail lounge, and The Canvas by Ever, a high-end event space. 

 

Ayesha Nurdjaja 

A Brooklyn native of Italian-Indonesian heritage and a James Beard Foundation Best Chef: New York State nominee (2022 and 2023), Nurdjaja graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education. After working her way up the ranks at various New York City establishments including Lidia Bastianich’s Felidia, Bar Aristinal, Picholine and Missy Robbins’ A Voce, Ayesha went on to join The Bowery Group, where she is currently Chef & Partner at Shuka and Shukette, earning a devoted following for her vibrant Eastern Mediterranean fare and distinct seasonal culinary approach. 

 

Aisha Ibrahim 

Ibrahim was born in the Southern Philippines before immigrating to the US as a child. After graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu program in San Francisco, she launched her career in the Bay Area at notable restaurants such as Aqua, Commis, and Manresa where she eventually became a sous chef before moving to the Basque Country to train at Azurmendi. She has spent time in some of the best kitchens in the world including in Japan at Kagurazaka Ishikawa, L’effervescence, and RyuGin, and is now Executive Chef at Canlis restaurant in Seattle. She was most recently recognised as a 2023 Food & Wine Best New Chef of America.   

 

Valerie Chang 

Chang grew up in Chiclayo, Peru and moved to the US when she 10, where she spent her childhood watching her father Fernando cook. In 2018 Chang, her brother Nando, and their father opened Itamae in the Miami Design District food hall and then in 2019, a fast casual off-shoot concept, B-Side. In 2023 she opened Maty’s, named after her grandmother, in Miami’s Midtown neighbourhood. At Maty's the menu is a modern take on comida criolla, the traditional Peruvian food of Chang's upbringing. She has earned two James Beard semifinalist nominations for Rising Star Chef (2019, 2020) and nominations for Best Chef South (2022, 2023). 

 

Junghyun ‘JP’ Park 

Chef Junghyun ‘JP’ Park is a Seoul-born, New York City-based chef, most recently recognised as Best Chef: NY State (2023) by the James Beard Foundation. He is globally acclaimed for his NYC restaurants Atomix (2 Michelin Stars, No. 8 World’s 50 Best 2023) and Atoboy in NoMad, NARO in Rockefeller Center, and Seoul Salon in Koreatown. With an academic background in Food Sciences bolstered by years of experience in creating restaurants pioneering the ‘New Korean’ movement, Park continues to hone his dedication to evolving Hansik through research and development on a global scale. 

WEST EUROPE

 

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 24-25 West Europe Jurors

 

Christian Nickel 

After years of apprenticeship and travel in Germany, Spain, France and Singapore, Nickel moved to Switzerland in 2005, working with Hans-Peter Hussong, and Lucia and Felix Eppisser at Spice in Zurich. He has been running Park Hotel Vitznau and the Campus Hotel Hertenstein in Weggis since 2013 and the Neuro Campus Hotel in Vitznau since 2021. He has dedicated himself to “Preserving the past and shaping the future” through his food and leadership, he says.  

 

Manon Schenck  

Originally from Alsace, Schenck worked in France (including five years in Brittany) and in Luxembourg before settling in Durbuy in Belgium and creating La Table de Manon in 2016, where the cuisine is focused on seafood and in particular lobster. The restaurant currently holds one Michelin star, while Schenck has previously been named young chef of the year for Benelux.  

 

Silvia Manser 

Silvia Manser grew up in a small restaurant in Gais, Switzerland. She spent three seasons with Roland Jöhri, before heading to Auberge du Raisin in Cully to work with Adolf Blokbergen. In 2001, Silvia and her husband took over the family business from her parents and transformed it from a neighbourhood eatery into the Gault Millau and Michelin award-winning gourmet restaurant Truube Gais.  

 

Frank Giovannini 

Giovannini, born in Tramelan, Switzerland, started his career as Chef de Partie in the Lespinasse restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel in New York under the direction of chef Gray Kunz. From 1995, mentored by Frédy Girardet and Philippe Rochat, Giovanni worked at the Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville à Crissier, first as Chef de Partie and later as Sous Chef.  In 2019, he ascended to Chef de Cuisine, earning the restaurant three Michelin stars and 19/20 GaultMilau points.  

 

Thijs Vervloet 

 After training at the Hotel School in Koksijde and time at Hof ter Hulst, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Zilte, among others, Vervloet then opened his own restaurant, Colette, named after his grandmother, in Westerlo, Belgium in 2016. Nine months after opening, Colette was awarded its first Michelin star, and in 2019 Vervloet received the title of Young Top Chef of Flanders. Colette was awarded a second Michelin star in 2022.  

CENTRAL EUROPE

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 24-25 Central Europe Local jury

 

Heinz Reitbauer 

Reitbauer’s cooking style reflects his respect and appreciation of raw ingredients and products. His Vienna restaurant Steirereck holds two Michelin stars and five toques from Gault Millau. It has been voted the best restaurant in Austria by A La Carte magazine and the Falstaff Guide. Since 2009 the restaurant has been included on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and in 2016 Reitbauer was named Austrian Chef of the Century by Gault Millau.   

 

Daniel Gottschlich 

Gottschlich is the owner and head chef of two successful restaurants in Cologne: Puls and the internationally renowned, two-Michelin-star Ox & Klee. His cooking revolves around the six taste qualities of sweet, sour, umami, salty, bitter and fat and their perception with all five senses. In 2023, he was the first chef to receive a short-term scholarship at the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome, an art academy that is over 120-years-old and is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany.  

 

Julia Komp 

At her Michelin-starred Cologne restaurant Sahila, Komp takes guests on a culinary journey inspired by her global travels. Next door to Sahila you can find Julia’s second restaurant, Mezze Bar Yu*lia, a tribute to her time in Tunisia. In 2016 Komp was Germany's youngest female chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant, and in 2020 she was named chef of the year. She is also a regular guest on German television.   

 

Rosina Ostler 

Born in Munich, Ostler has worked at some of Germany’s best restaurants, including at three-Michelin-star Restaurant Schwarzwaldstube Torsten Michel, and at the similarly awarded Maaemo in Oslo. She is currently Head chef at Alois-Dallmayr Fine Dining in Munich, which holds two stars.  

 

The Duc Ngo 

As a restaurateur, The Duc Ngo is well known throughout the region. Born in Hanoi, he came to Berlin in 1979 as a refugee of Chinese descent via Hong Kong. At the age of 24, the self-taught chef opened his first restaurant, Kuch. Many restaurants followed. In 2016, he opened 893 Ryotei on Kantstraße. Today The Duc Ngo runs 18 restaurants, regularly features in Gault Millau and the Michelin Guide and is 44th of the 100 Best Chefs in Germany according to Rolling Pin.  

CANADA
Canada Local Jurors | S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25

Jason Bangerter 

Bangerter began his culinary career in Toronto, before heading to Europe, working under the likes of Anton Mosimann and Pierre Koffmann in London. Returning to Toronto, he joined the team at Auberge du Pommier, before in 2013 becoming the Executive Chef at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa in Cambridge. Bangerter is a champion for Ontario, ensuring 80% of all food and drink in the restaurant is sourced locally. He is also a long-time Ocean Wise partner. 

 

Nuit Regular 

Chef Nuit Regular is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Pai, Kiin, Chaiyo, Sukhothai, and By Chef Nuit Events & Catering, as well as the Executive Chef of Selva. She has transformed the Thai food scene in Toronto through the distinct flavours of Northern Thai cuisine and hospitality. Nuit left her career as a nurse and Thailand to share her passion and life experiences through family recipes, street market dishes, and Royal Thai cuisine in Canada.  

  

Normand Laprise 

Born and trained in Québec, Laprise opened the critically-acclaimed restaurant Toqué! In Montréal with Christine Lamarche in 1993. In 2009, he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec, and in 2014 received the l’Ordre du Canada. He has been part of Grande Tables du Monde since 2014 and for several decades has inspired young chefs who are now at the top of the ladder in the culinary world or are running their own restaurants.  

Previous Article Change Article Next Article