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S.Pellegrino announces 2020 Africa and Middle East Young Chef candidates

S.Pellegrino has announced its initial line-up of young candidates selected for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020 edition. One hundred and thirty-five chef candidates from 12 regions, representing 50 countries, have successfully reached the semi-finals, and are now one step closer to the 2020 Grand Finale. Each young chef, seven of which are from South Africa, had their signature dish evaluated by culinary experts at the leading international educational and training centre for Italian cuisine, ALMA.
Marian Vejcik via

ALMA’s selection process hinged on three key criteria: technical skills, creativity and a personal belief in the transformative power of gastronomy as a device for positive change in society.

"We have had the pleasure of collaborating with S.Pellegrino Young Chef since the very first edition, and every time we are amazed by the variety of ideas and the great passion shown by the candidates," said Andrea Sinigaglia, general manager of ALMA.

Applications for the 2020 edition of the global competition grew by 20% compared to the past edition, moreover, the percentage of women registered among the candidates increased to more than 10% - a number that needs to grow, but that shows the first results of the commitment taken by S.Pellegrino for gender balance and inclusivity.

Between August and December 2019, the candidates of each region will compete in the regional challenges. Each region will have a jury composed of leading independent chefs – which in the past have included luminaries such as David Higgs and Chantel Dartnall – who will judge the candidates’ signature dishes and select the regional winners of the four awards.

South Africa is well represented in the regional finals for the Africa and Middle East region, with seven out of ten places awarded to young chefs from some of South Africa’s top restaurants.

They will be following in the footsteps of Vusumuzi Ndlovu – then at the Marabi Club in Joburg – who, having won the regional final in Dubai, went on to achieve the accolade of being recognised as one of the top seven young chefs in the world at the Grand Finale in Milan last year.

The semi-finalists for Africa and the Middle East are:

1. Kayla-Ann Osborn: The Chefs Table, Umhlanga, Durban

2. Logan Leisse: Cavalli Estate, Stellenbosch

3. Callan Austin: Le Coin Français, Franschhoek

4. Daniel Payne: View Restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel, Johannesburg

5. Marcus Gericke: Qunu at The Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg

6. Meshen Pillay: Reuben’s at The Capital Moloko, Johannesburg

7. Paul Thinus Prinsloo: The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Somerset West

8. Elissa Abou Tasse: Maroun Chedid S.A.L, Beirut, Lebanon

9. Aytekin Yamaç: Hezarfen Restaurant, Taksim, Turkey

10. Martim Moreau Maita: The Park Hyatt, Abu Dhabi Hotel, United Arab Emirates

The Grand Finale will be held in June 2020.

Discover S.Pellegrino’s 2020 Young Chef’s here
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