After a day of competing against 9 of the top young chefs in the Africa and Middle East region, Chef Vusumuzi Ndlovu from the Pop Luck Club in Johannesburg was announced as the winner of the semi-finals and will go on to represent our region in the finals in Italy next year June. With his dish titled ‘Isicupho’, he finished ahead of the other local semi-finalists, all hand-selected by ALMA, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian cuisine.

The regional challenge took place at the International Centre for Culinary Arts, a culinary training centre in Dubai. A jury of chefs, including Sascha Triemer, Marthinus Ferreira and Dominique Grel representing Dubai, South Africa and Mauritius respectively, tasted and evaluated each of the semi-finalists prepared signature dishes based on their adherence to the competition’s five “Golden Rules”: ingredients, skill, genius, beauty and message.

Alongside Sous Chef Vusumuzi Ndlovu, other regional semifinalists were Chef Aditya Kumar Jha from Tamba Abu Dhabi, Chef Mario Christianto from The Exchange Grill Restaurant in Dubai and Chef Nigel Lobo at The Eloquent Elephant, Sous Chef Jorge Alexis Falcon Valera from Cantina Kahlo in Bahrain, Sous Chef Georgios Spandos from Palm Hotel & Spa; and from South Africa Chef de Partie Bianca Strydom from The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Chef de Partie Garth Raubenheimer from Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient, Chef de Partie Paul Prinsloo from The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Chef Sheldon Raju from Sheldon Raju Consultancy and Harringtons Cocktail Lounge in South Africa.

“I’m proud of what I have achieved in Dubai – I couldn’t have achieved all of that without the great minds around me. As much as I’ll be representing the region, I’m representing all of these people too. So it’s a win for them too,” said Chef Vusumuzi.

The local competitions round will continue until December 2017, where semi-finalists from across the world will compete for a chance to move on to the global finals in Milan. By the end of December 2017, 21 Young Chefs will be announced as official finalists, who will each be assigned a “Mentor Chef” from their regional jury. The Mentor Chefs will support the young chefs leading up to the Grand Finale, providing them guidance on how to improve their signature dishes.

Exclusive content and updates on S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 will be published regularly on 

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