On the morning of Monday 24th of June, at the National Gallery in Singapore, S.Pellegrino presented ‘FOOD MEETS FUTURE’: an interactive exploration of the key aspects of gastronomy in the future, run by some of the most influential top chefs on the international gastronomic scene.
The event, held as part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 celebrations, was a key opportunity for young chefs to understand some of the pertinent issues of the gastronomy community today.
There were four pillars that guided the discussion during the day, identified by S.Pellegrino along with the tops chefs of the world: inclusion, inspiration, responsibility and talent.
The Talent segment of the presentation provided young industry professionals to participate in a Q&A session with some of the leading voices of the industry.
Those present on stage were:
- Multiple winner of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena (Italy).
- Yannick Alléno, of Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris and S.Pellegrino Young Chef jury member in 2015.
- Anne-Sophie Pic, recipient of The World’s Best Female Chef Award 2013, chef-owner of Maison Pic in Valence, France and current North West Europe region S.Pellegrino Young Chef jury member.
- Garima Arora of Gaa in Bangkok, the first female Indian chef to receive a Michelin star, and current Asia region S.Pellegrino Young Chef jury member.
Here are some of the key learnings during the Q&A session, with questions asked via the Fine Dining Lovers social media channels and by those present. S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 winner Yasuhiro Fujio, and the latest The World’s 50 Best 2019 BBVA Scholarship winner Andersen Lee were given the opportunity to each ask a question on stage with the chefs.
What do the top chefs think of when it comes to identifying talent in the kitchen? It all comes down to attitude: “there are no shortcuts to [becoming a great chef]: it’s 90% hard work and 10% talent! I think the first sign of a good chef is a chef who works hard and keeps their head down” said Chef Arora.
Bottura was in agreement, who also emphasized the fact that he looks for chefs who “are devoted to others in the team,” a quality that any chef wanting to learn must have. The rest will be taught to those who have the right attitude, he said.
On Leadership, Ambassadorship
Chefs around the world today are more than the food they create, but are active ambassadors of positive change in society. On this, Andersen Lee presented the chefs with the question: What initiatives and systems can be put into practice by restaurants to help feed the local community and the less fortunate?
Chef Bottura, founder of the non-profit organization Food for Soul, explained his philosophy of bringing change in the food system: “start thinking small… once you feed people with the ideas, these ideas build bridges and that can make a difference in the world.”
His series of community kitchens, “refettorios”, from Milan to Brazil, has, and continues to feed thousands of people in need of nourishment. “When we decided to feed the people in Milan and create the first refettorio, we dreamed big. To dream big doesn’t cost anything.”
Trends in the Kitchen Environment
What do these experienced experts have to say about the kitchen environment as a workplace today, as opposed to 20, or 30 years ago?
Chef Alléno, who was awarded his first Michelin star 20 years ago, spoke of the key difference being the amount of information available to chefs today. He expressed his role as that to help the new generation of chefs to focus on the right path.
Bottura added to this the presence of a greater openness in the work environment today. A lesser segmentation of roles, a more “fluid” growth path in the kitchen, according to Bottura translates to more opportunities for the young chef than ever before.
Chef Pic mentioned the important role that information sharing plays in the growth of a restaurant and the individuals, which is highly encouraged. “There is more communication between the different roles, like between my chef and the sommelier, and this is positive to everyone” she said.
The Takeaway from Food Meets Future
Fostering and nurturing talent, investing in the next generation, feeding the future now, is a key focus for the gastronomy industry. Forums such as Food Meets Future, provide opportunities not just for the winners of S.Pellegrino Young Chef, but to all those who are passionate about the industry, with the aim to educate and connect them with some of the greatest minds in gastronomy.
It is just one of the many initiatives by S.Pellegrino, whose dedication to a better future of gastronomy has culminated into the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, searching for top young talents from all around the world since 2015.
Read more about S.Pellegrino Young Chef and S.Pellegrino’s belief in nurturing and supporting young culinary talent, and follow all the exciting developments in the competition as they happen on S.Pellegrino’s Facebook and Instagram pages. #SPYoungChef