Leslie Hottiaux is the winner of the Pacific final

Leslie Hottiaux from Apero Food & Wine, Auckland, New Zealand has been named as the winner following the Pacific regional final of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 – the global talent search to find the best young chef in the world.

Competing against nine other carefully selected young chefs from across the Pacific region at a Melbourne venue, Hottiaux took first place with her vegetarian dish of ‘Potato Gnocchi’ Mushrooms, Pine Nuts and Truffle.  “As my restaurant is all about meat, I wished to create something intrinsically vegetarian, in doing so I wanted the dish to be all about flavour and texture” she explained.

A local jury of renowned chefs, namelyPeter Gilmore, Peter Doyle, Jacques Reymond, Andrew McConnell and Adam D'Sylva were responsible for judging each of the ten semi-finalists signature dishes in line with the criteria set out under the five “Golden Rules”: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.

Chef Hottiaux's thoughts are now with the next challenge that lies ahead, the Grand Final: “I’m thrilled to represent Australia Pacific in Milan. The Grand Final in October will be a great opportunity to meet and compete against other young chefs from all over the world."