Victorian chefs lead the charge in S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year

Published on July 5 2019.

Photo: Photo by Daniel Mahon

Sanpellegrino's global hunt for young chef talent has entered its next phase.

Things are heating up in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year awards, with the announcement of the Regional Finalists, who now go in the running for the international title.

Of the seven Australian chefs selected from the Pacific region, three are from Victoria. Aram Yun of Naum BBQ in Point Cook, James Bond-Kennedy from Igni in Geelong and Jose Lorenzo Morales from South Melbourne’s Lûmé all made the cut. Chefs from Sydney, Brisbane and New Zealand round out the rest of the list.

The Regional Finalists will now be paired with a mentor to refine their dish ahead of cooking for a panel of local judges later in the year. The winner of that round takes their dish to the global stage to compete against 11 other young chefs for the ultimate title.

Danielle Alvarez of Fred’s in Sydney, one of the judges assessing the Pacific region finalists, is looking forward to September when she’ll get to meet the finalists and try their food.

“I can see how much these things can really change people’s lives,” she says.

She’s hoping to see a strong awareness of the future in this next generation of professionals, with an eye on where the industry is heading, rather than where it’s been.

Last year’s winner of the Pacific region title, John Rivera of Lûmé, has spoken highly of his experience of going through regional heats and spending time with mentor Scott Pickett.

“It was never about winning. It was a great way to gauge yourself and find your own style in how you cook and how you think about food.

“You go to Milan and think that’s the pinnacle of it all. But then you realise that there’s so many doors that are opened.”

Follow @finedininglovers for the latest news on the competition.