Chang Liu, the finalist who represented China in S.Pellegrino Young Chef in 2016, has taken the helms of a new restaurant in Milan, Serica, where he proposes a series of Chinese-Italian dishes that have been hailed as part of the new movement in cultural crossover in cuisine.
The young chef of class 1988 has risen through the ranks working at the kitchens of various chefs all over the world, including with Daniel Boulud in Beijing, Noma in Copenhagen, before landing in Italy to take part in the reality show Hell’s Kitchen (Italy) 2015 hosted by celebrity chef Carlo Cracco, and to work with ex-Osteria Francescana chef Yoji Tokuyoshi. It was in 2016 that the talented young chef decided to enter the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, representing China, his home country. Liu beat his regional peers and arrived at the finals in Milan where he cooked for the jury composed of the world’s top chefs Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Carlo Cracco, Wylie Dufresne, David Higgs and Roberta Sudbrack.
His new restaurant, Serica, was a natural evolution in his career, but it wasn’t without some valuable pieces of advice he picked up during the competition. Speaking of his past, “I basically entered [S.Pellegrino Young Chef] to compete against myself”, who was then struck by the level of mentorship provided by acclaimed chefs such as Carlo Cracco, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Steven Liu and Adoni Luis Aduriz. “Everyone was always ready to help, and available to answer our questions. Being the very best on what they do didn't stop them to be very humble indeed.”
Importantly, the mentors during S.Pellegrino Young Chef all taught him to “never stop being curious” said Liu, who admitted that it was “this kind of curiosity that is found at Serica as well!”
At Serica, Liu takes diners on a gastronomic journey along the silk road (also the inspiration behind the name of the restaurant, Serica means “silky” in italian) with dishes that blend the different cultures in perfect harmony. The bao is thus made with saffron and filled with ossobuco, a clear tribute to Milan; the crab spaghetti is deliciously aromatic of confit tomatoes and ginger; the wantons have a filling typical of the Emilia Romagna region with Parmesan sauce and are enriched with white Alba truffles.
Liu is upbeat about the future, of his new venture, and remains open to the possibility of working with the those he met during the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition. He keeps his relationship with chef Cracco close, the latter always the mentor, willing to share stories and advice whenever the two get the chance to meet.
The S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition has seen thousands of participants pass through the selections in the past years, each and every young chef with the hopes of arriving at the top and winning the Grand Finale. So far, only three have had the honour of being titled Winner of S.Pellegrino Young Chef, but in this competition where supporting young talents is a belief and mission, there is always more than just one real winner. Like Liu, who is facilitating cross-cultural communication through food, and many others around the world.
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 Instagram and Facebook pages. #SPYoungChef