Among the thousands of hopeful chefs from around the globe who entered to compete to be named S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020, seven South Africans are in the running for the title. Last year South Africa’s very own Vusumuzi Ndlovu – previously head chef at The Marabi Club in Joburg – did the country proud when he ranked among the seven best young chefs in the world at the Grand Finale held in Milan.
S.Pellegrino’s annual culinary talent search to find the best young chef in the world pits applicants younger than 30 – who have had at least one year’s experience working in a restaurant as a chef, sous chef or chef de partie – against one another.
The new edition brings some changes to the competition. Notably, the number of regions for each of the regional finals has been streamlined. As a result, candidates will be divided into 12 regions instead of 21, depending on the location of their restaurant. Each young chef was carefully picked by ALMA – The International School of Italian Cuisine – where each of their signature dishes were assessed according to the same 3 criteria, the Golden Rules: technical skills, creativity and personal belief.
The 10 Africa-Middle East semi-finalists include:
1. Kayla-Ann Osborn: The Chefs Table, Umhlanga, Durban
2. Logan Leisse: Cavalli Estate, Stellenbosch
3. Callan Austin: Le Coin Français, Franschhoek
4. Daniel Payne: View Restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel, Johannesburg
5. Marcus Gericke: Qunu at The Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg
6. Meshen Pillay: Reuben’s at The Capital Moloko, Johannesburg
7. Paul Thinus Prinsloo: The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Somerset West
8. Elissa Abou Tasse: Maroun Chedid S.A.L, Beirut, Lebanon
9. Aytekin Yamaç: Hezarfen Restaurant, Taksim, Turkey
10. Martim Moreau Maita: The Park Hyatt, Abu Dhabi Hotel, United Arab Emirates
Each regional finalist will now participate along with the guidance of their chosen mentor chefs, in a total of 12 Regional Finals organised around the world. The contestants’ signature dishes will again be judged on the golden rules, and the individual winners from each region will move on to the international Grand Finale in Milan, where a top jury will crown the best young chef in the world.
We wish all our South African chefs the very best as they prepare for the regional finals!