How the 2024-25 Competition works
This is a brief summary of information related to the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25, entries for which are now closed. If you wish to participate in a future edition, please read the Full Regulations and Annex and check back on the site for updates.
PHASE 1: ONLINE REGISTRATION
Participants must submit their signature Dish recipe according to the Regulations and Annex 1. The recipe must be the same throughout all phases of the Competition.
PHASE 2: REGIONAL SHORTLIST
A shortlist of candidates shall be drawn up for each Region (see Regulations and Annex 1). A judging panel made up of independent members of ALMA (an authoritative international training centre for Italian cuisine) will assess applications on the basis of the following three criteria (Golden Rules), for which each jury member will assign a score between one and 10:
1. TECHNICAL SKILLS: Technical skills and competences during all phases of processing the chosen raw materials:
- Raw material selection: raw materials will be analysed according to the criteria of freshness, respect for seasonality, quality and uniqueness.
- Raw material processing: raw material processing and preparation skills will be analysed with a perspective of food circularity, through techniques that allow the preservation of the food’s organoleptic qualities and the re-use of food waste.
- Cooking techniques: analysis of the cooking techniques used with the aim of enhancing the organoleptic qualities of the raw materials.
- Recipe: analysis of the flavour enhancement, combination, and balance of the chosen ingredients.
2. CREATIVITY: Ability to synthesise one’s own intellectual philosophy of cooking within a recipe. Ability to define one’s own experience, knowledge and professional skills in a distinct and innovative manner, as well as to explore new, stimulating, and innovative perspectives with a personal and contemporary style, maintaining a perfect balance between taste and appearance.
3. PERSONAL BELIEF: Ability to communicate one’s ‘creed’, one’s vision of the world and cuisine, in a clear message. A message that is conveyed through the creation of a dish that is nothing other than the expression of convictions, visions, experiences and technical skills that have led to the creation of the Young Chef’s concept of identity and values in cooking.
PHASE 3: REGIONAL FINALS
The Signature Dishes of the shortlisted participants at each Regional Final shall be assessed by a local jury of national and/or regionally renowned chefs, on the basis of the three criteria mentioned in the previous paragraph. They will assign a score between one and 10 for each criterion. Based on the sum of the scores assigned to each candidate for each of the above-mentioned criteria, the local jury shall identify a winner. The first placed candidate shall be assigned the title of “Regional Finalist” and shall qualify for the Grand Finale in Milan. A “Mentor” chef shall support each selected finalist.
During the Regional Finals, three other Special Awards shall also be assigned:
1. S.PELLEGRINO SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AWARD
Voted for by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which runs Food Made Good, the largest foodservice sustainability programme and global community for driving sustainability in hospitality, the winning dish will represent the principle that food is at its best when the result of socially responsible practices encompassing sourcing, and social and environmental requirements. Submissions to this award are judged according to eight criteria: resource use, climate impact, biodiversity, food waste, nutrition, collaboration, advocacy, and innovation.
2. FINE DINING LOVERS FOOD FOR THOUGHT AWARD
Voted for by the online Fine Dining Lovers community, this award will go to the Young Chef whose Signature Dish best represents her/his personal beliefs.
3. ACQUA PANNA CONNECTION IN GASTRONOMY AWARD
Voted for by the Mentors, the winner of this award must produce a dish that represents the culinary heritage of her/his Region. The dish should highlight both these traditional culinary practices and the Young Chef’s personal modern vision, providing a connection between the past and the future.
PHASE 4: GRAND FINALE
During the Grand Finale only the 15 Regional Finalists of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award will cook their Signature Dishes, which will be assessed by seven internationally renowned chefs (Grand Jury).
The assessment will be based on the three criteria already mentioned (Golden Rules), for each of which they shall assign a score from one to 10. Based on the sum of the scores acquired by each Regional Finalist, a ranking will be drawn up, and the first placed participant will be the overall winner. The winner will be awarded the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award 2024-25.
On the same evening, the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award, Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award and S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award will also be given out.
The Grand Finale is scheduled to take place by November 2025 in Milan. However, the dates and venue of the Grand Finale (as well as the Regional Finals) may be subject to change.
PLEASE READ THE FULL REGULATIONS AND ANNEX CAREFULLY