John Rivera from Restaurant Amaru has been announced as the Pacific finalist for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Awards.

Rivera will go on to compete in Milan, Italy, at the grand final in 2018 under the mentorship of judge Scott Pickett.

The judges commented: “We were unified in our decision. The standard has risen from previous years. John was very prepared, focused and meticulous in his approach. John’s dish showed a depth of flavour and a fully rounded approach. He articulated the cultural heritage of his dish in a precise and warm manner. Every element of the dish was perfect”.

Rivera’s winning dish was Sinigang – Hapuka and tomato, calamansi and taro.

The local semi-finalists were hand-selected by ALMA, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian cuisine.

The semi-finalists cooked in front of judges Andrew McConnell (Cutler & Co, Supernormal); Christine Manfield (chef, author, writer); Jacques Raymond (L’Hotel Gitan); Paul Carmichael (Momofuku Seiobo) and Scott Pickett (Esp by Scott Pickett) at the Crown Culinarium in Melbourne.

Semi-finalists included chef William Mordido from Buka (Auckland); sous chef Robert Fairs from Roots (Christchurch); chef de partie Parveen Prasad from Intercontinental Hotel Sydney (Sydney); sous chef Mattia Aloisio from Osteria Ilaria (Melbourne); sous chef Daria Manca from Pilu at Freshwater (Sydney); sous chef Zackary Furst from Ides (Melbourne); sous chef Jason Kim from Sidart (Auckland); sous chef Joshua Gregory from Exp Restaurant (Wallsend) and chef Matteo Tiffany from Grossi Florentino (Melbourne).



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