With the regional finals of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020 well under way now all across the globe, the competition turns to Africa and the Middle East. The date has been set, and the finalists, local mentors and jury members are confirmed!
The cook-off for this region, composed of the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Morocco, South Africa and Turkey will take place at the South African Chefs Academy in Cape Town, October 14, 2019.
Here is the list of the 10 Regional finalists plus each of their chosen mentor chefs who will guide them throughout the Regional Finals.
Marcus Gericke, mentor: Candice Philip (South Africa)
Logan Leisse, mentor: Micheal Deg (South Africa)
Callan Austin, mentor: Darren Badenhorst (South Africa)
Aytekin Yamaç, mentor: Maximilian J.W Thomae (Turkey)
Kayla-Ann Osborn, mentor: Constantijn Hahndiek (South Africa)
Paul Thinus Prinsloo, mentor: Gregory Czarnecki (South Africa)
Meshen Pillay, mentor: Aviv Liebenberg (South Africa)
Daniel Payne, mentor: Olivier Barré (South Africa)
Elissa Abou Tasse, mentor: Tony Ziade (Lebanon)
Martim Moreau Maita, mentor: Ivan Musoni (United Arab Emirates)
Each of the talents have passed a careful selection process by the team at ALMA, in accordance with the Golden Rules of the competition. They will prepare and present their Signature Dish to the local jury who will select the winning Finalist to go forth to the Grand Finale in Milan, 2020.
The Local Jury Panel for the Africa and Middle East Region
Five acclaimed chefs make up the local jury panel this year for the Africa and Middle East Region, each chosen due to their belief in and ability to support the S.Pellegrino Young Chef’s mission of nurturing the future of gastronomy through its support for the next generation of chefs.
Youssef Akiki (Lebanon)
Chef of Burgundy in Beirut, Youssef Akiki trained under culinary greats Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon and Nicolas Le Bec. He has hosted his own cookery show on MTV. His cooking style is French, but takes from various food cultures and presents dishes that are beautiful, precise and playful.
Myriam Ettahri (Morocco)
After a successful career in business, Myriam Ettahri studied at Le Cordon Bleu, then went around the world to work in various acclaimed kitchens including the Michelin starred team lead by Pierre Gagnaire. She has a strong TV presence, including appearances on Masterchef France, her own show “Mama Chef”, and Masterchef Morocco. Ettahri works alongside many brands and companies as consultant and food expert.
Michélle Theron (South Africa)
Chef Michelle Theron is the head chef at Avant-Garde Restaurant, at Hazendal Wine Estate in Stellenbosch where she presents a Russian-inspired dishes using South African ingredients. Previously Executive Chef at Pierneef à La Motte in Franschhoek, specialising in traditional South African cuisine. The chef cut her teeth at various Michelin star restaurants in Holland, prior to returning to South Africa.
Grégoire Berger (United Arab Emirates)
Chef Grégoire Berger was winner of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016, Middle East and Africa Region, accompanied by mentor chef Chantel Dartnall. Originally from Brittany, France, his culinary training has taken him as far as Florida, Morocco and Paris, and is currently the head chef at Ossiano, at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm.
Maksut Askar (Turkey)
Chef owner of Neolokal, Istanbul, Maksut Askar is a proponent of the Turkish, Anatolian cuisine, with a passion for the rediscovery of the local traditions. In 2014 he was Time Out Istanbul’s “Chef of the Year.” Chef Askar has taken an active role in industry talks to discuss his ideas on zero waste, focus on small-scale producers and the importance of preserving culinary traditions.
This year’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef initiative has been re-shaped to reflect the brand’s belief in the transformative power of gastronomy. That’s why from the this edition S.Pellegrino Young Chef will include three additional awards, both at the Regional Finals level and the Grand Finale, intended to give voice to different personal beliefs: Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy, Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility
The Finalist chosen from this Regional Final and of the three awards will be announced on www.SanpellegrinoYoungChef.com as and when they take place.