S.Pellegrino is a firm believer that gastronomy can transform society. Change might happen one small step at a time, but ongoing support year after year, through sponsoring excellence at awards ceremonies and nurturing young talent in chefs’ competitions and beyond, drives a continuous evolution that can shape the future.
Chef of the Year
The S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year 2018 award went to Chef Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat Restaurant in Paternoster at last year’s Eat Out Awards. Since winning the award Kobus has appreciated the value of such a prestigious accolade.
“It was a really big honour for us,” he says. “It really made people sit up and take notice, that we may be small country restaurant but we mean business. We’re not your typical formal fine-dining restaurant but we’re serious about the ideas that come from our small kitchen, the ingredients we showcase, and the ethos we want to share with guests. In our industry every bit of recognition helps.”
Each year the Chef of the Year wins a prize sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna of a trip to a prestigious international food-focused event. In June this year Kobus flew to Singapore to attend the World’s 50 Best Awards ceremony, where chefs from the world’s top restaurants gathered in anticipation of seeing who would take the top spot.
“It was quite a special thing to be invited to such a prestigious event, as a guest of S.Pellegrino,” says Kobus. “I was very happy to be there to support my countrymen and colleagues from The Test Kitchen, who were recognized as one of the Worlds 50 Best at the ceremony.”
A highlight of his whirlwind 48 hours in Singapore was a welcome lunch on the rooftop observation deck of the iconic Marina Bay Sands resort overlooking the city and harbour. “It was cooked on open fires by chefs from some of the top Singapore restaurants, sampling modern fusion snacks with cocktails from a Singaporean mixologist, quite a cool introduction.”
S.Pellegrino Young Chef
S.Pellegrino Young Chef is a key to nurturing the talent that will shape the future. The high-flying competition has evolved into an anchor for S.Pellegrino’s global ‘nesting’ strategy, which envisages incubating talent and supporting young chefs through a variety of networking opportunities, masterclasses and internships, as well as at the competition events themselves. The nesting is designed as an ongoing cycle, whereby previous finalists and winners share their experiences with the next generation of participants, and communication fosters growth and learning.
The opportunities to travel, broaden your horizons and experience food from other cultures is one of the attractions of taking part in international culinary competitions. Young chefs currently taking part in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition get the chance to meet their contemporaries from other countries, network and connect. In October this year, Cape Town will be the host city for the Africa & Middle East Regional and the regional winner along with his/her mentor and the 3 award winners will travel to the final which takes place in Milan in May 2020. It’s an invaluable opportunity to meet the legendary chefs who will be the judges, to gain insight into diverse food cultures and plug into the global network. The future of gastronomy is in the hands of these up and coming young chefs and S.Pellegrino looks forward to sharing their inspiring journey.