Harvey Taylor

MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT Melbourne, Australia April 2024

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25, the global initiative created by S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy to discover and mentor the most talented young chefs in the world, gets into full swing.

The local jury of judges for the Pacific Regional Final, tasked with declaring the regional winner, has now been announced: Josh Niland (Saint Peters, NSW), Brigitte Hafner (Tedesca Osteria, VIC), Rosheen Kaul (Etta, VIC), Jake Kellie (arkhé, SA) and Brent Savage (Bentley Group, NSW).

For a chance to compete at the Pacific Regional Final, chefs under 30 years of age need to register for the competition by 19 June 2024, including a signature dish showcasing their talent, creativity and vision. The applications will first be assessed by ALMA, the International School of Italian Culinary Arts, which will draw up the shortlist of competitors ahead of the Regional Finals.

During the Regional Final, Jury members will evaluate the signature dishes according to three Golden Rules, for each of which will be assigned a score between one and 10:

  • Technical skills: Technical skills and competences during all phases of processing the chosen raw materials (raw material selection, raw material processing, cooking techniques, recipe)
  • Creativity: Ability to synthesize one’s cooking philosophy within a recipe. Ability to define one’s experience, knowledge and professional skills in a distinct and innovative manner, as well as to explore new, stimulating, innovative perspectives with a personal and contemporary style, maintaining a perfect balance between taste and appearance.
  • Personal belief: Ability to communicate one’s ‘creed,’ one’s vision of the world and cuisine, in a clear message. A message that is conveyed through the creation of a dish that is nothing other than the expression of convictions, visions, experiences and technical skills that have led to the creation of the Young Chef’s concept of identity and values in cooking.

Rosheen Kaul, author, food personality and head chef of Etta says “it is a true privilege and highlight of my career to serve as a juror for the Pacific region for the prestigious SPYCA competition. There are some highly-skilled and ambitious young chefs in the region already making an impact beyond the kitchen, and I’m thrilled to be a part of their journey. The young talent in this region holds such a unique perspective of gastronomy, environmental responsibility and a strong sense of self. This is an exhilarating opportunity for our young chefs to shine on the world stage, and it is an honour to mentor and guide them on their journey.”

Jake Kellie, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of arkhé adds that he is “thrilled to be judging in 2024’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition. Having taken part in this competition myself, I know first hand what an incredible opportunity it is – both for the young chefs competing, and for myself as a judge. In 2018 I represented South East Asia and came second in the world, so the competition is really close to my heart. It feels surreal to be returning as a judge, and to mentor these young chefs. I’m looking forward to guiding them through this incredible competition, and showing them what they can achieve. I’m sure they’ll have a thing or two to teach me!”

Brent Savage, co-owner of the esteemed Bentley Group in NSW is “very excited to be involved with the SPYCA competition this year, it is a privilege to be seeing the best of the next generation of creative young chefs working in Australia. It is more important than ever to mentor Australia’s talented group of young chefs and the SPYCA competition provides the perfect opportunity to do so.”

The winners of the Pacific 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.

The Competition will also feature three additional awards alongside the main prize: the S.Pellegrino Social Responsibility Award voted for by the Sustainable Restaurant Association which runs the Food Made Good program; the Acqua Panna Connection in Gastronomy Award, voted for by the Competition mentors; and the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award voted for by Fine Dining Lovers readers.

Peter Gilmore (QUAY, SYD), local jury member of the 2022/2023 Pacific Region of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition says:

“The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition opens the door for talented young chefs globally. What a way to promote creativity and celebrate these talented individuals, particularly after a tough few years for the industry with Covid-19 and the current cost of living crisis. It’s inspiring to see.”

/Public Release.