The first of the 12 Regional Finals of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2019-2020 concluded on the 26th of August, with some of the most talented young chefs in the Pacific Region showing off their outstanding culinary skills at the Sydney Seafood School. At the end of this exciting Pacific Regional Final, Jose Lorenzo Morales, Commis Chef at Lûmé in Melbourne, was announced as the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Pacific Region winner, to be participating in the Grand Finale.
Jose won over the judges with his signature dish, Analogy – roasted lechón pork belly, shrimp bogoong paste, pandan rice cracker, latik caramel, and tamarind powder. “What encouraged me to pursue this competition was the fact that it was substantially about using culture and humanity as our vessel to move forward and prevent the earth from its endangering concerns."
“I am so humbled that what I believe in makes sense, and it was appreciated by the biggest culinary icons - Danielle Alvarez, Christine Manfield, Peter Gilmore, Dan Hunter, and Jock Zonfrillo. “More than ever, I’m driven and hungry to express my thoughts through food, not only to the Pacific, but to the world, and am very excited to collaborate with all the brilliant minds at the Finale,” said Jose.
In a first for the Pacific Region, three female Young Chefs got behind the pans at the 2019 cook-off - Arum Yun, Sous Chef, Naum, Melbourne; Kezia Kristel, Chef de Partie, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Sydney (and winner of the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility); and Giada Grilli, Chef de Partie, Lillius Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand.
To reflect S.Pellegrino’s belief in and support of, the transformative power of gastronomy and its impact beyond the kitchen, the following three awards have been introduced to the competition to complement the existing S.Pellegrino Young Chef award:
Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy Winner: James Bond-Kennedy
Sous Chef, Restaurant IGNI (South Geelong, Victoria).
Signature dish: Great Ocean Duck, And Its Seasonal Feed! with mentor Greg Clarke, Owner and Head Farmer of Great Ocean Road Duck.
S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility Winner: Kezia Kristel
Chef de Partie, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar (Sydney).
Signature dish: Experiencing Mushrooms in Flavours and Savoury Carrot Tart with mentor Karen Doyle, Le Cordon Bleu.
Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award Winner : Abhijit Dey
Sous Chef, SO Auckland (Auckland).
Signature dish: Horopito Cured Wild Venison Cooked over Kanuka Wood, Karamu Berries and Feijoa Cream with Celeriac and Melson Valley Saffron Reduction with mentor Marc de Passorio, SO Auckland.
The S.Pellegrino Young Chef winner of the Pacific Region, Jose Lorenzo Morales will go on to compete in the Grand Finale, alongside the 11 winners of each of the other Regions.
The Grand Finale will be held later in Milan in 2020. All of the winners of the additional three awards will also be invited to attend the Grand Finale as guests, affording them another opportunity to network with some of the biggest names in gastronomy from around the globe.
At the Pacific Regional Final, the Young Chef contestants had five hours to complete their dish, which were then presented to the judging panel, a line-up of five of the finest culinary names in the country - Peter Gilmore, Executive Chef at Quay (Sydney); Jock Zonfrillo, Chef and Owner at Restaurant Orana and Bistro Blackwood (Adelaide); Danielle Alvarez, Head Chef at Fred’s (Sydney); Dan Hunter, Chef and Owner at Brae Restaurant (Victoria); and Christine Manfield (Sydney), a leader in the hospitality industry.
Some of the interesting ingredients judges experienced include emu bush, manna gum branches, wild venison, and cloud ear mushrooms.