S.Pellegrino Announces the Five Prestigious Chef Judges for this Year’s UK Stage of the Competition

The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy, a global initiative searching for the most talented young chefs aged under 30 as part of its Young Chef Competition, has announced its stellar jury line up for its 2024 UK regional final, due to take place this September.

Alex Dilling, Adam Smith, Santiago Lastra, Lorna McNee, and Nokx Majozi have all come on board to judge finalists and support the UK’s future talent as they undertake the task of identifying the UK’s next star chef to compete in the global finale in Milan next year.

During the competition, the five jurors will mentor participants to help them bring their vision for the future of gastronomy to the table, as well as equip them to take their culinary skills to the next level and bring their best to the table.

Selected participants for the UK competition will join the Regional Finals event that will take place on 25th and 26th September in London where they will showcase their talent and compete in front of the prestigious jury.

S.Pellegrino is passionate about inspiring new generations of young chefs with the knowledge and expertise of experienced professionals. This is why, through its academy, the business is campaigning to improve perceptions of the sector and nurture the talent of tomorrow through a global network where some of the world’s leading chefs can share ideas, best practice, and inspiration with upcoming talent.

The S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition is open for entrants, with chefs under 30 years of age encouraged to register for the competition before it closes on 19th June 2024. Applicants must submit a Signature Dish that expresses their unique creativity and vision, which will then be assessed by ALMA, the International School of Italian Culinary Arts, before a shortlist of competitors is drawn up ahead of the Regional Finals.

Commenting on being part of the UK jury, Alex Dilling said: “To be able to support the next generation of culinary talent in the UK as part of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy competition is an incredible honour for me. The competition provides a special opportunity for myself and the wider jury to share our knowledge and skills with young chefs and give them a platform to be creative.”

Adam Smith added: “The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy competition is an amazing opportunity for young chefs to showcase their skills, creativity and talent alongside others from around the world. The competition can open the door to fantastic career boosting opportunities, and it’s a real privilege to be part of the judging process for 2024. I’m extremely passionate about encouraging the next generation of our amazing industry, and I think this is a perfect way to help do so!”

Santiago Lasta commented: “I am very excited to be part of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef judging panel. Now more than ever we need to inspire and nurture the next generation of culinary talent, and I’m proud to be part of a competition that does just that. I look forward to meeting the finalists and tasting their dishes in September.”

Lorna McNee said: “I am where I am in my career to date because I was nurtured by my mentor Andrew Fairlie. He was a firm believer in nurturing and developing young chefs, whilst installing a core set of skills and values that gives the next generation a solid foundation to build upon. For me, it is vital that this knowledge is passed down through generations.”

The Signature Dishes will be evaluated on the basis of three Golden Rules; for each of them the jury members shall assign a score between 1 and 10:

  1. Technical skills: ability to select the finest ingredients in terms of quality, freshness, and uniqueness, to obtain an excellent taste, combined with technical skills that bring out the flavours of the ingredients, whilst maintaining their original essence.
  2. Creativity: ability to explore original, stimulating, and innovative perspectives with a personal and contemporary style, whilst maintaining a perfect balance between flavour and aesthetic appearance.
  3. Personal belief: ability to communicate a clear message that summarises the “vision” of their work, their vision of the world of food and their contribution to today’s society in general through food.

The competition will offer even more opportunities for young talent to embark on a culinary journey that will bring visibility, prestige and the chance to compete for the global S. Pellegrino Young Chef Award at a Grand Finale in Milan in 2025.

Encouraging young UK chefs to apply to the competition is the winner of last year’s UK regional final, Marcus Clayton: “Winning the last edition of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition is a real highlight in my career. The competition process from the regional final in London to competing with chefs from across the world in the global finale in Milan was an incredible experience. I’d encourage any aspiring young chef to enter the process – you won’t regret it.”

The winners of the Regional Finals will not only gain visibility and prestige in the culinary world but will also have the chance to compete for the global S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award at the Grand Finale in Milan in 2025.

As with the 2019/21 and 2022/23 editions, the 2024/25 competition, will also feature three additional awards alongside the main prize:

To start the application and discover more about the initiative please visit: https://www.sanpellegrinoyoungchefacademy.com/the-competition/application-form