On 13 October in Milan, 20 young chefs from all corners of the world will showcase their culinary skills and creativity to compete for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 award.

Australia Pacific local challenge winner, Leslie Hottiaux is part of the group of young chef finalists, collectively representing twenty different geographic regions. Hottiaux is French born and trained at two Michelin star restaurant, Chevre d'or in Eze and the Carlton International in Cannes before heading to Australia and New Zealand. Her Auckland, New Zealand CV includes sous chef positions at The Grove Restaurant and Baduzzi (three and two Chefs Hats respectively) and finally to Apero Wine and Food as head chef and owner.

To win the prize, the young chefs will prepare and submit their respective signature dishes to a jury of seven international chefs: David Higgs, Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack. Following the evaluation based on the criteria of the five ‘Golden Rules’ of ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message, a single winner will be chosen. The Young Chef 2016 award ceremony will be followed by a gala dinner prepared by Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana.

Two additional prizes will also be awarded. The Acqua Panna Contemporary Tradition Award will be awarded to the dish that best represents the balance between traditional and contemporary elements. For the first time ever, the S.Pellegrino Inspiring Message Award, an award for the most inspiring dish concept voted by the public, will be presented.  

In order to compete, the young chefs and their dishes had to pass several preliminary rounds, starting with an initial screening by ALMA, followed by the regional finals.

After the regional finals they were each assigned a ‘mentor chef’, to advise them in the lead up to the finals.

The complete list of Young Chef 2016 finalists, the restaurants they represent and their Mentor Chefs is as follows:

1. ITALY – Alessandro Salvatore Rapisarda, Restaurant Caf Opera, Recanati; mentor: Davide Oldani

2. FRANCE – Shintaro Awa, l’Epicure (Hotel Le Bristol), Paris; mentor: Yannick Allno

3. GERMANY-AUSTRIA – Matthias Walter, Burgrestaurant Staufeneck, Salach; mentor: Karlheinz Hauser

4. SWITZERLAND – Anne-Sophie Taurines, Restaurant et club Le Rouge, Verbier; mentor: Andr Jaeger

5. SPAIN-PORTUGAL – David Andrs, ABaC RESTAURANT, Barcelona; mentor: Andoni Luis Aduriz

6. UK-IRELAND – George Kataras, M Threadneedle Street, London; mentor: Claude Bosi

7. RUSSIA/BALTICS/CIS – Hezret Berdiev, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, St.Petersburg; mentor: Vladimir Mukhin

8. SCANDINAVIA – Nikolaj Schmidt Skadborg, Restaurant Sletten, Copenhagen; mentor: Christian Puglisi

9. EAST EUROPE – Rodrigo Sandor, Costes Downtown, Budapest; mentor: Adrian Hadean

10. BENELUX – Andrea Miacola, De Librije, Zwolle; mentor: David Martin

11. MED COUNTRIES – Nicolaos Billis, Botrini's Restaurant, Athens; mentor: Meir Adoni

12. USA – Mitch Lienhard, Manresa, Los Gatos; mentor: Dominique Crenn

13. CANADA – Sean MacDonald, Market Restaurant, Calgary; mentor: Normand Laprise

14. AFRICA-MIDDLE EAST – Grgoire Berger, Ossiano Fine Dining – Atlantis The Palm, Dubai; mentor: Chantel Dartnall

15. LATIN AMERICA – CARIBBEAN, Daniel Nates, Maizal, Puebla; mentor: Gerardo Vazquez Lugo

16. AUSTRALIA PACIFIC – Leslie Hottiaux, Apero Food & Wine, Auckland; mentor: Peter Gilmore

17. CHINA – Chang Liu, Huai Yang Fu, Beijing; mentor: Steven Liu

18. JAPAN – Seira Furuya, Gakusikaikan, Tokyo; Mentor: Yoshihiro Narisawa

19. NORTHEAST ASIA – Matteo Zonarelli, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Macau; mentor: Jacques Reymond

20. SOUTHEAST ASIA – Tarun Bhatia, Ek Bar, New Delhi; mentor: Will Meyrick

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