Michelin-starred chefs join the search for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th March 2017

Michelin-starred chefs Angela Hartnett MBE, Alyn Williams, Phil Howard and Mickael Viljanen have teamed up with S.Pellegrino to find the world’s next best young chef for 2018.

Coming into the third year of the competition, The Staff Canteen were invited along to Café Murano on Monday, 6 March for a sumptuous breakfast to celebrate the launch of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018.

Angela Hartnett MBE
Angela Hartnett MBE

Greeted with a warm smile and a selection of beverages everyone took their seats for the live Q and A session with the judges to find out more about this year’s competition and what they will be looking for from potential candidates.

Kicking off proceedings, Michelin-starred chef and judge Angela Hartnett said: “First and foremost for me is that the food has to taste good. As Phil (Howard) always says to me, you just want a delicious plate where you want to eat more and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Explaining her decision to take part, Angela added: “This global S.Pellegrino initiative is one that I couldn’t be happier to support. Gastronomic competitions like this allow the next generation of Michelin-starred chefs to make themselves known on a global platform and I am excited at this opportunity to help them do so. It is a once in a lifetime experience for the ambitious young chefs to develop their skill set and for us as a judging panel to inspire them.”

This year’s stellar judging panel know a thing or two about food having each risen up through the ranks to become some of the UK and Ireland’s most sought after and respected chefs. Their job will be to judge the top 10 UK and Ireland semi-finalists selecting just one to go on to represent both territories in the global final next year.

Fellow judge Phil Howard has owned multiple restaurants including the Michelin-starred, The Ledbury, the Square and his most recent venture, Elystan Street. As one quarter of this year’s judging panel, Phil is looking for someone who can show great craftsmanship with a sharp dish.

Speaking at the launch Phil said: “Innovation and creativity can come into it but there is a huge amount of cooking out there that follows those two trends at the expense of how much it delivers. You taste a lot of crap when you judge competitions and the moments that are special are when you eat something delicious.”

>>> Read our 10 minutes with Mitch Lienhard, S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016

Alyn Williams, former National Chef of the Year and chef patron of Alyn Williams at the Westbury which holds a star in the Michelin Guide UK and 4 Rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide added: “Over the last few years I have judged a lot of competitions and have entered competitions which gives me a good idea of what it is like to be on the side of the contestants. You are always going to take some elements from those that you work for or work with but you then need to take that one step further.”

L-R George Kataras, Mickael Viljanen, Phil Howard, Alyn Williams and Amgela Hartnett

L-R George Kataras, Mickael Viljanen,

Phil Howard, Alyn Williams

and Amgela Hartnett

The global contest was created by S.Pellegrino to give young chefs the opportunity to learn from leading talent, gain global visibility and work alongside some of the most renowned names in cuisine.

Offering his advice to this year’s candidates, judge Mickael Viljanen who is head chef of the Michelin starred, The Greenhouse in Dublin said: “I think the thing is to be unique with whatever you do and just come up with something that you can make better and better bit by bit. A lot of detail and thought has to go into it. It has to be a delicious plate of food that is very smart and clever.”

Alongside the judges was also George Kataras from M Threadneedle Street. George won over last year’s judges to represent the UK and Ireland in the global final. When asked what winning the competition has done for him, George said: “It’s allowed me to travel and see what other people do as we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s helped me to see where I want to go next and where I’m going in the future.”

>>> Related: George Kataras from M Threadneedle Street wins the UK S.Pellegrino Young Chef final

Online applications are currently being accepted until April 30, 2017. Applicants must be 30 years old or younger with at least one year’s experience working in a restaurant as a chef, sous chef or chef de partie.

A global shortlist will be announced on June 1, 2017 where candidates will be divided into 21 regions according to geographical location where their submissions will be assessed by ALMA, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine. The top 10 semi-finalists from each region will then be selected.

The final 10 from each region will then compete in local semi-final rounds between June 7 and December 31 where they will be asked to cook their signature dishes for an exclusive regional jury. Once the 21 young chefs from around the globe have been chosen they will gather in Milan next June for the grand final where one lucky winner will be crowned S.Pellegrino’s Young Chef 2018.

Find out how you can enter here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th March 2017

Michelin-starred chefs join the search for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018