The ten semi-finalists in the Africa-Middle East region of the S Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 have been announced! There’s still a long road ahead to the S Pellegrino 2018 Grand Finale, and from June to December 2017 the semi-finalists of each region will compete in local challenges. Each region will have a jury composed of leading independent chefs, who will judge the semi-finalists’ signature dishes and select the best one, based on the five Golden Rules of ingredients, skill, genius, beauty and message.The Africa Middle East jury comprises Sascha Triemer (Dubai), Dominique Grel (Mauritius) and our very own Marthinus Ferreira from DW Eleven-13 in Johannesburg.

So who made it to the semi-finals in our region? The young chefs are:

  • Bianca Strydom (South Africa): Chef de Partie at ‘The Restaurant at Waterkloof’, with her dish “Rubus & Fresh Water”.
  • Aditya Kumar Jha (Abu Dhabi): Chef at ‘Tamba’, with his dish “Cryo Fried Banjara Gosht”.
  • Garth Rauben Heimer (South Africa): Chef de Partie at ‘The Restaurant at Waterkloof’, with his dish “Langoustine in Granny’s Garden”.
  • Georgios Spandos (Reunion Island): Sous Chef at ‘Palm Hotel & Spa’, with his dish “The Path to the Purpose”.
  • Jorge Alexis Falcon Valera (Bahrain):  Sous Chef at ‘Cantina Kahlo’, with his dish “Raices”.
  • Nigel Lobo (Dubai): Chef at ‘The Eloquent Elephant’, with his dish “Steamed Patagonian toothfish, spiced lobster mousse, moilee sauce, ‘sukha javla’”.
  • Paul Prinsloo (South Africa): Chef de Partie at ‘The Restaurant at Waterkloof’, with his dish “Salmon Up The River”.
  • Sheldon Raju (South Africa): Chef at ‘Sheldon Raju Consultancy’, with his dish “On the Spice Trail”.
  • Vusumuzi Ndlovu (South Africa): Sous Chef at ‘The Saxon Hotel Villas and SPA’, with his dish “Isicupho”.
  • Mario Christianto (Dubai): Chef at ‘The Exchange Grill Restaurant’, with his dish “Sous Vide Duck breast with tamarind sauce, orange puree, apple licorice, foie gras”.

Each had to submit a signature dish that would be evaluated by experts from the World’s Leading International Educational and Training Centre for Italian Cuisine, ALMA.

“It is the third time now that we have the responsibility to select the young chefs for the local finals, but we continue to be amazed by how much flair and passion for fine food these young talents possess.” said Andrea Sinigaglia, General Manager of ALMA. “Having to select only ten semi-finalists for each region when you are presented with so many interesting applications is not at all easy. It is also our responsibility to accompany all candidates in a way that renders the competition realistic and highly educational. S.Pellegrino Young Chef is not only a chance to emerge, but also a moment of international encounter, exchange and sharing.”

By the end of December 2017, the 21 Young Chefs from around the globe will be announced as the official finalists, who will move on to the Grand Finale, to be held in June 2018. Each finalist will be assigned a “Mentor Chef” (a member of their regional jury), who will provide them guidance on how to improve their signature dishes and support them in their preparation for the international finals.