Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant Sous Chef Robin Wagner has been announced as the winner of this year’s S.Pellegrino Asia-Pacific Young Chef regional final.

The chef took home the title in a competition held on 17 October at the Sydney Seafood School where he went head to head with nine other finalists.

Each contestant was asked to present their signature dish to a judging panel consisting of Saint Peter’s Josh Niland, Nomad’s Jacqui Challinor and Quay’s Peter Gilmore.

Wagner created a vegan dish that consisted of smoked celeriac, Granny Smith apple and crispy taro.

“What I think really impressed us about Robin’s dish was the depth of flavour and texture from simple and humble ingredients: celeriac, tarot and apple, that danced across the palate in a balance of textures, flavours and temperatures,” says Gilmore.

“It’s an outstanding dish, the kind that you’d find in a restaurant and you’d come back to have it again and again.”

Wagner will now progress to the grand final to compete against regional winners from across the globe in Milan, Italy next year. His mentor Michelin Star chef Scott Huggins will work with the chef to prepare for the 2023 final.

In addition to the Young Chef regional award, three other competitors were recognised for their dishes.

Alexis Belmas from La Petite Souris (Qld) received the Award for Social Responsibility for his dish Western Breeze Over Oz, while Jackson Mehlhopt from Tussock Hill (NZ) won the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy with his dish The Southern Kiwi Deer and its Surroundings.

The Fine Dining Lovers Community Award went to Leidy Carolina Maldonado Ramirez from Nu Nu (Qld) for her dish Ensalda de Payaso ‘Clown Salad’.