Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award is awarded by Fine Dining Lovers readers who will be given the opportunity to vote online for their favourite young chef of Italy and & South East Europe Countries Region. From September 28 until October 17, vote for your favourite young chef that best represents his/her personal belief within his/her signature dish. Take the chance to vote!
The Italy and South East Europe competition of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2019-2020, an international project that aims to discover and enhance young talent, will take place on October 21 2019, in Milan.
Ten Regional Finalists (see below), have been selected by ALMA in accordance with the Golden Rules of the competition. They will face off during a live local cooking competition where each of their respective Signature Dishes will be assessed by a local jury panel, always in line with these Golden Rules. The jury’s decision will be final as they select the best young chef capable of representing the region at a global level.
Apart from the Finalists, there will be a further three award assigned at these Regional Finals. These are: the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility, and the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy.
The Italy and South East Europe region encompasses the key countries Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia, all of which are represented in the local jury for these Regional Finals.
The Local Jury for Italy and South East Europe Region
Antonia Klugmann (Italy)
She started later in life, but chef Antonia Klugmann quickly made a name for herself by cooking multicultural dishes with a renowned respect for produce in northern Italy. Her first restaurant opened in 2006, Antico Foledor Conte Lovaria, and established her as one of the best emerging chefs. After a couple of stints at Michelin starred restaurants in and around Venice, Klugmann opened her second venture, in 2014, L’Argine a Vencó. Based near the Italian-Slovenian border, Klugmann’s dishes mix cultures and influences from the local cuisine and her Serbian-Austrian-Italian background.
Matias Perdomo (Italy)
Uruguay born Matias Perdomo is the chef behind the highly imaginative restaurant Contraste (one Michelin star) in Milan. Working in the kitchen since he was 14 years old, Perdomo spent his first years in his home ground and then in Montevideo. But it was when he moved to Milan and took the reigns at the traditional osteria Pont de Ferr, where he remained until 2015, that his creativity and techniques came to light. In 2018 he also opened Exit, a kiosk-space where simplicity and quality are balanced with just the right about of creativity and accessibility.
Janez Bratovž (Slovenia)
Chef Janez Bratovž, of the eponymous restaurant JB in Ljublijana, was the first Slovenian chef to appear on The World’s 100 Best Restaurants list. Bratovž spent time in Austria, France and Italy, and creates bold and original dishes using ingredients from Ljubliana, that combine the influences from Mediterranean, French and Slovene cuisine.
Oana Coantă (Romania)
Owner Chef of Bistro de l’Arte in Brasov, Romania. She believes in philosophy of neo-gastronomy as a recognition of the close connection between plate, planet, people and culture.
Pino Cuttaia (Italy)
Chef Pino Cuttaia hails from Sicily where he runs the highly acclaimed, 2 Michelin starred Ristorante La Madia, serving reinterpretations of Sicilian classics that are bold and thoughtful. Cuttaia worked in many Michelin-starred restaurants across northern Italy before he returned to his birthplace to open La Madia in 2000. Local ingredients take centre stage as Cuttaia and his wife seek to create unfussy, familiar dishes and render them into something truly unique. His winning combination of tradition and innovation has made La Madia one of the most precious culinary treasures of Sicily.
Ana Grgić (Croatia)
Executive chef at Zinfandel’s Restaurant, and Bistro Esplanade in Croatia, chef Ana Grgić has been lauded by many as the rising star of the Croatian gastronomic scene. Grgić has worked in various kitchens around the world and in front of many royal families, and in 2016 was the first female jury member for MasterChef Croatia. Her cooking style is a combination of Mediterranean and continental classics with a respect for seasonality and quality ingredients in meticulously perfected dishes.
Marianna Vitale (Italy)
Chef Marianna Vitale of Ristorante SUD in Naples, is regarded as the pioneer of Naples’ evolving food culture. Her love for food goes back to her early childhood, from her chef father and her grandmother who was a keen home cook. Vitale entered the kitchen only in 2008, opening Ristorante SUD in 2009, and was voted Best Female Chef of the Year by L’Espresso and Identità Golose.
A new feature of this edition of S.Pellegrino Young Chef is the opportunity for the chefs to be accompanied by a mentor chef of their choice from the regional level (in previous editions only winners of the Regional Finals were allocated mentors, to follow them to the Grand Finale). This is an important initiative allowing young chefs to receive precious advice and support in refining their recipes and techniques, but also to better prepare them for the competition from the very beginning.
Luca Natalini, Mentor: Alessandro Rapisarda (Italy)
Antonio Romano, Mentor: Francesco Nunziata(Italy)
Davide Marzullo, Mentor: Davide Maci (Italy)
Alessandro Bergamo, Mentor: Riccardo Camanini (Italy)
Roxana Blenche, Mentor: Cezar Munteanu (Romania)
Tommaso Tonioni, Mentor: Gabriele Bonci (Italy)
Jakob Pintar, Mentor: Luka Košir (Slovenia)
Deni Srdoč, Mentor: Tvrtko Šakota (Croatia)
Maria Chiara Brannetti, Mentor: Vincenzo Dinatale (Italy)
Diana Teodora Draghici, Mentor: Adrian Hadean (Romania)
The Finalist chosen from this Regional Final and Finalists of the three awards will be announced on www.SanpellegrinoYoungChef.com as and when they take place. Find out more about S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2019-2020 and via our social media channels on Facebook and Instagram, and by following #Sanpellegrino and #SPYoungChef.