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Moriarty wins the #SPYoungChef 2015

Ireland triumphs in the first edition of the contest. All the comments from the great jurors

27-06-2015

It is midnight, between Friday 26th and Saturday 27th June: at the end of a long and exciting day (and season), Irish Mark Moriarty (chef at restaurant The Culinary Council in Dublin) wins the first edition of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015. The Best chef-designer couple was also awarded, voted by the guests of the night and online: in both cases, Peruvian-Brazilian couple Maria José Jordan and Paula Cademartori won. The prize for Best designer decided by Vogue Italia went to Chinese Xiao Li

After 14 hours of effort, the winner of the first edition of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef of The Year was an Irishman, Mark Moriarty (The Culinary Counter, Dublin), the author of a splendid Celeriac cooked in barley and fermented hay. He triumphed defeating in the final steps the dessert by Maria José Jordan (restaurant Amaz, Lima), the only woman among the 20 contestants – with her “Immortal technique: lemon, rosemary and gin”, «a very interesting dish», her mentor, the great Japanese-Peruvian chef Mitsuharu Tsumura, aka Maido, commented «few ingredients, used in a very intelligent way – and Norwegian Christian André Pettersen (Spiseriet, Stavanger), who signed a dish that makes two worlds meet, East meets west.

This was the spectacular finale to an intense day, marked by the barrage of a thousand interviews (from the journalists) and tastings (the 20 dishes of the candidates) which the great chefs in the jury had to face. We were also among the snipers in search of answers, we were curious to understand the feelings of these giants in front of such young chefs (who in fact were not at all scared). There were two fundamental points in the reactions of each of the G7 (Acurio, Achatz, Alleno, Bottura, Margot Janse, Narisawa and Joan Roca): first, the “extraordinary” standard of the dishes presented, in everyone’s opinion; second, the good-naturedly jealous thought that it is much easier to be young today than 20 or 30 years ago.

THE AUTHORS OF THE DINNER. The 3 finalists: Peruvian Maria José Jordan, between Norwegian André Pettersen and the final winner Mark Moriarty (photo by Gianni Rizzotti)

THE AUTHORS OF THE DINNER. The 3 finalists: Peruvian Maria José Jordan, between Norwegian André Pettersen and the final winner Mark Moriarty (photo by Gianni Rizzotti)

Massimo Bottura revealed all his enthusiasm: «Being part of the passions and dreams of these extraordinary guys for one day was fantastic. They daydream and give life to concentrates of passion», he said to the Fine Dining Lovers microphones, «Did all this surprise me? Not at all: I know very well how much enthusiasm the guys approaching this profession have. I still have in mind the faces of the girls in my team, when they gave a lesson at Identità two years ago, conceiving extraordinary dishes without any apprehension». Of course though «When I was young myself, I would peel potatoes and took notice of me», he jokes. In the end, a wish: «I’d like the winner of the contest to come and cook at Refettorio next Monday».

IN 20 IN THE FUTURE. The 20 protagonists of the first edition of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year ready to start

IN 20 IN THE FUTURE. The 20 protagonists of the first edition of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year ready to start

Joan Roca is paternal: «Young chef, remember, don’t linger too much on who won, who lost and who came second. Roll up your sleeves because success arrives only if you work very hard». Then a proud claim of responsibility: «If today things are easier for chefs, the merit goes also to our generation, we paved the way». Japanese Yoshihiro Narisawa saw «Very clean dishes but most of all a strong identity and originality. Almost all of them were perfect». Together with his colleagues he points out he has rewarded «The preparations with the simplest taste, without too many botches and squashed ingredients», a strong message to the new generations. The seemingly benevolent GrantAchatz was also enthusiast: «I certainly didn’t expect dishes of such standard. Some of the preparations could very well be served at Alinea».

THE ROYAL LINE. The great jury that decided the winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 (photo by Elisa Pella)

THE ROYAL LINE. The great jury that decided the winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 (photo by Elisa Pella)

Too bad for Italian Paolo Griffa, who was just a touch disappointed, just like his other 16 colleagues. Some say he was penalised for presenting a dish with foie gras, even though his supplier is careful with ethics and does not use the odious gavage (force feeding) on the geese. Going beyond hypocrisies, we enjoyed the introduction, focused on the concept of paradox, between poor and rich ingredients, Europe and Asia, freshness and strong flavours. «A great job with raw materials that risk to be forgotten», added Cristina Bowerman, Griffa’s mentor. No polemics, in any case, just a little understandable disappointment in the words of this guy who tweeted: «A huge thank you to all those who supported me... I won’t be on the stage tonight, among the first». But we’ll soon see him in other important occasions: his talent is unquestionable.


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Gabriele Zanatta

born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, he's been working as a co-author and coordinator of both Identità Web and Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook for the past 7 years
twitter @gabrielezanatt