7 South Africans make Top 10 finalists

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

More than 3000 young chefs submitted their application together with their signature dish on www.finedininglovers.com to get a chance to participate to S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015, the global scouting project to find the world’s best young chefs.

All the valid applications, received by December 31th 2014, were divided into 20 regions*, according to the geographic area of origin, and ALMA, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine (www.alma.scuolacucina.it), selected the first 10 finalists for each region according to five Golden Rules: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, message.

“It was a very hard task to select just so few finalists from so many interesting proposals – said Andrea Sinigaglia, ALMA General Manager– Having the opportunity to analyze original recipes created by young chefs from all over the world was a thrilling experience, and an incredible demonstration of just how much talent and love for fine food it is possible to find everywhere in the globe”.

For Africa and Middle East, these are the names of the 10 finalists:

1. Amoré Botha (South African) Chef de partie, Restaurant '12 Apostles Hotel and Spa'

‘A Tropical Plate’

2. Angelo Scirocco (South African) Sous Chef, Restaurant 'Chefs Warehouse'

'Milk is Thicker than Water'

3. Constantijn Hahndiek (South African) Chef, 'OSA restaurant'

‘Preparations of Quail’

4. Darren Badenhorst (South African) Chef, Restaurant 'Grande Provence'

‘Parma Wrapped Slow Cooked Rabbit, Palm Sugar Szechuan Rabbit Liver Brulee, Pumpkin Seed Gremolata’

5. Eka Mochamad Chef, 'Pepper Fine Dining Restaurant by Jumeirah'

‘Salmon Mit Cuit with Scallop Mousse, Orange Gel, Topinambous Puree, Truffle Foam, Pressed Beetroot’

6. Katlego Sebastian Mlambo (South African) Sous Chef, 'Rust en Vrede Restaurant'

‘Cape Coast Rock Pool’

7. Rahil Rathod Chef de Partie, Restaurant 'Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek-Boulvar'

‘Tribute to Local Lamb’

8. Sanjay Thakur Chef, Restaurant 'Etihad Airways'

‘Royal Spiced Salmon served with Prawn Centurion Egg Croquette, Spiced Carrot Puree, Edible Soil, Rose Oil Tossed Asparagus’

9. Simone van der Merwe (South African) Sous Chef, 'De Kloof Restaurant'

‘Down to Earth’

10. Vusi Ndlovu (South African) Sous Chef, Restaurant 'Saxon Qunu Grill'

‘Angus Beef and Oysters with Charred Asparagus'

By the end of February, the 20 best local young chefs from each world region will be announced as the official finalists.

During this final round, each of the 20 finalists will be supported by a “Mentor Chef”, a global renowned cusine artist who will provide suggestions on how to improve their recipe and, more in general, to become a better chef.

David Higgs, the Executive Chef of Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, is a multi-award winning Chef who is world-renowned for his exquisite and artistic dishes. David has been selected as the mentor for the San Pellegrino Young Chef Awards 2015 representing Africa and Middle East in Milan, June 2015.

In 2003, David had won the title of 'Young Chef of South Africa’ from the international society, Chaine de Rottisseurs. He thereafter began competing in various culinary competitions worldwide. He has further been nominated by Eat Out magazine as South Africa’s Best Chef amongst many other titles.

In June, during Expo Milano 2015, a jury of seven famous international chefs, “seven sages” like Gastón Acurio, Yannick Alléno, Massimo Bottura, Margot Janse, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Éric Ripert and Joan Roca, will elect the winner.

Follow the hashtag #SPYoungChef if you do not want to miss any update about the event.

Notes to Editor:


1. Italy

2. France

3. Germany-Austria

4. Switzerland

5. Spain-Portugal

6. UK-Ireland

7. Russia/Baltics/CIS (ex Soviet union)

8. Scandinavia (Norway/Sweden/Finland/Denmark)

9. East Europe

10. BeNeLux

11. Med Countries

12. USA

13. Canada

14. Africa-Middle East

15. Latin America - Caribbean

16. Pacific (Australia/NZ/Pacific Islands)

17. China

18. Japan

19. North East & Central Asia

20. Southern - East Asia


FIRST PHASE: ONLINE APPLICATION - November 2014 - December 31st

All the young chefs of the world can submit their application together with their signature dish on www.finedininglovers.com. The chefs will have to be no older then 30 and working as a professionist in a restaurant as chef or sous chef or chef de partie since at least 1 year. All the requirements will be explained on the website.

SECOND PHASE: GLOBAL SHORTLIST - December 16th - January 15th

All the candidates will be divided according to the geographic area they are from, there will be 20 regions*. Then ALMA, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine (www.alma.scuolacucina.it), will select through the online applications the first 10 finalists for each region according to five Golden Rules: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, message.

1. INGREDIENTS: Successfully selecting the best of what the market has to offer with regards to quality, freshness and uniqueness.

2. SKILLS: Successfully handling and transforming raw materials into a finished dish that respects its original essence.

3. GENIUS: Successfully exploring inedite, inspiring, unespected prospects/outlooks, connected with fine dining culture with a personal and contemporary style, while maintaining a perfect balance of tastes and shapes.

4. BEAUTY: Dish presentation is part of the charm.

5. MESSAGE: Successfully communicating a clear message through work and personal vision.

THIRD PHASE: LOCAL CHALLENGES - January 16th - June 15th

January 16th - February 28th, the 10 finalists of each area will have to compete during a local event: each region will have a jury composed by at least independent famous chefs or representatives of the contemporary local gastronomy that will taste the signature dishes of the finalists and choose the best one, always according to the 5 Golden Rules. By the end of February the 20 best young chefs from all the regions of the initiative will be announced.

March 1st - March 31st, Vogue Italia will select 20 emerging young designers: each of them will be associated to one of the best chefs and will have to interpret the signature dish with a fashion creation.

April 1st - June 15th, the finalist chef of each country will work together with the designer, who will interpret the chef’s signature dish with his/her own creation. Both the signature dish and fashion creation will be presented at the final event.


In June at the Italian Pavillion of EXPO in Milan, S.Pellegrino together with Vogue Italia will host the final event to celebrate the best young chefs and designers who have competed. An international jury of seven famous chefs will award the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 and the editorial staff of Vogue Italia will choose the most talented designer, while the cuisine and fashion lovers attending the final event will vote to assign Best Couple Chef-Designers 2015.

About S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna

S.Pellegrino, Acqua Panna and Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages are international trademarks of Sanpellegrino S.p.A. which is based in Milan, Italy.

Distributed in over 130 countries through branches and distributors in all five continents, these products represent quality excellence by virtue of their origins and perfectly interpret Italian style worldwide as a synthesis of pleasure, health and well-being.

Founded in 1899, Sanpellegrino S.p.A. is the leading company in the beverage sector in Italy with its range of mineral waters, non-alcoholic aperitifs, drinks and iced teas. As a major Italian producer of mineral water, it has always been committed to enhancing this primary good for the planet and works responsibly and passionately to ensure that this resource has a secure future.