Following the closing of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 registration on 7 April, 10 semi-finalists from Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands have been selected from thousands of applications submitted to

Young chefs from more than 90 different countries submitted their applications together with their signature dishes.

ALMA, an international education and training centre for Italian Cuisine, was in charge of the competition’s regional semi-finalists selection. The applications received were divided into 20 geographic regions, with 10 semi-finalists selected from each region according to five ‘Golden Rules’: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.

“The process was anything but easy,” said Andrea Sinigaglia, general manager of ALMA. “Our chefs and experts worked hard in order to select just 10 semi-finalists for each region from so many interesting applications, so they have to make some tough decisions. The average skill level was quite high; it’s exciting to realise how many talented young chefs there are around the world that have the potential and the passion to emerge – they’re just looking for their big break.”

Phase III of the competition will take place from 1 May to 15 August, during which the semi-finalists of each region will compete in local challenges. Each region will have a jury composed of independent chefs, who will judge the semi-finalists’ signature dishes and choose the best one, based on the five Golden Rules. The individual winners from each geographic area will then move on to the international finals.

The regional competition for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands will be held on 25 July at Crown Culinarium, Melbourne.

At the end of August, the 20 best young chefs – one from each region – will be announced as the international finalists. At this stage, they will also be assigned a “Mentor Chef”, who will advise them how to improve their signature dishes and help them prepare for the global finals. Peter Gilmore has been named as a mentor for this year’s competition.

The 20 finalists will compete in the Grand Finale on 13 October in Milan, which will include two days of cooking in front of the Seven Sages jury to determine the winner of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016.

Australia and New Zealand’s 10 selected semi-finalists are:

Joshua Gregory, Exp. Restaurant, Newcastle, New South Wales Australia

Olivia Meli, Montrachet, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Kha-wai Lo, Matteos Restaurant, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Zackary Furst, Ides, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Leslie Hottiaux, Apero Food & Wine, Auckland, New Zealand

Josh Barlow, The Grove Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand

Gareth Robbs, Bistro Molines, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Jeremy Metivier, Cottage Point Inn, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Christopher Walker, Roots Restaurant, Christchurch, New Zealand

Tom Hishon, Orphans Kitchen, Auckland, New Zealand

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