Who Is the World’s Best? San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016

The world’s only global cooking competition is back for the second year running. I was invited to attend the UK and Ireland launch of San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 at one of London’s finest restaurants, Dabbous in Fitzrovia. This initiative gives chefs under the age of 30 the opportunity to be crowned the world’s best young chef.

Dabbous Fitzrovia
I’ve been meaning to visit Dabbous for a while, as it’s cuisine is so ground-breaking. The decor has a very industrial vibe, letting the food speak for itself.

Dabbous appetizers
For the breakfast launch, Ollie Dabbous and team had rustled up some very tasty Bircher muesli with Yorkshire rhubarb and jasmine – hands down the best muesli I’ve ever had.

Dabbous museli
Ollie is one of the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 UK and Ireland judging panel, in good company with JP McMahon of Cava Bodega in Galway, Michelin starred Claude Bosi of Hibiscus and Ross Lewis of Chapter One. They were joined by 2015 global winner Mark Moriarty from Ireland.

San Pellegrino Young Chefs launch
Phase One of the competition is the call for talents. Candidates across the world can apply online at www.finedininglovers.com until 31 March, as long as they are under 30 and have at least one year of experience as a chef, sous chef or chef de partie. They just need to fill in the form, upload a CV and submit details of their signature dish recipe together with photos.

San Pellegrino call for entries
Phase Two is the selection of ten finalists for each of the 20 regions by ALMA, the renowned Italian cuisine educational and training centre. ALMA is looking for five criteria: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, and communication of a clear message.

San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016
Phase 3 is the Regional Finals, from 1 May to 15 August when the area finalists will cook their signature dish for a top notch regional jury. At the end of August, the 20 official finalists will be announced. At this stage, each one will be assigned a mentor who will pass on their expertise. The final phase is the grand finale in Milan from 13 to 15 October, culminating in the award  of the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016. Parallel to this, S. Pellegrino held their first ever Taste Experience at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 competition
At the launch event’s live Q&A with the top British chefs, we gained some fascinating insights into the skills and dedication that it takes to win this coveted prize. Mark was particularly indebted to his mentor, Clare Smyth MBE, Britain’s first female chef to win three Michelin stars and chef patron of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea.

San Pellegrino Young Chef mentors
After the Q&A, we were treated to another delectable breakfast dish, fried duck egg with homemade black pudding, bubble and squeak and mango chutney. The fact that I ate it all is testament to how good it was, as I normally avoid any mashed potato and black pudding!

Do you know any talented young chefs?

Please do encourage them to enter at www.finedininglovers.com and you can follow the competition on Twitter via hashtag #SPYoungChef to get regular updates.

Dabbous eggs

  • Although I kind of frequently eat out, I almost never had the chance to speak to a chef. This competition is an excellent opportunity for young chefs. Good luck to all the participants!


    • What struck me about the chefs is how modest and down to earth they were. It’s all about the cooking for them

  • What a cool competition! I bet there’s a ton of young chefs who would love this opportunity

    Rachel xx

  • This sounds like such a fun event!! Plus the food looks amazing!


  • Coco Cami

    This looks like a super event, and the food looks mouthwatering!

    Best Wishes,

    Camille xo


  • It was such fun to take part in the launch, I’d love to go to the final!

  • I’ve wanted to go to Dabbous for ages – this looks like such an amazing event! I can’t wait to see who the next best young chef is!

    Erin xxx

    • Fingers crossed that the UK wins again! Dabbous was really good

      • It looks amazing! I always got the impression that it was really difficult to get a reservation, might have to try again soon!

  • I love the restaurant’s idea of keeping the decor industrial (check out that door!) so to allow the food to have all of the attention! This content sounds interesting too – how exciting for the contestants 🙂

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    • The food really does speak for itself at Dabbous and the competition should be really interesting

  • I have a huge fondness for Bircher muesli, the one you tasted looks delicious!

  • Lucy

    Competitions to find talented chefs are excellent. As chefs get to battle it out and in turn try and improve their cooking skills Lucy x

    • I think that the competitive aspect must really help tune the chefs’ skills and it’s great exposure

  • Lauren @BonVoyageLauren

    Oooooo looks delicious! Thanks for sharing, Suze 🙂

  • It’s nice to see young talented chefs.
    When i was in college, i dream of becoming a chef but cooking was never easy on me lol.


  • What a great initiative! And the breakfast looks gorgeous – especially love the look of the muesli decorated with jasmine 🙂 xx

  • This sounds like one of the most delicious competitions ever…!

  • Wow that first picture of the muesli just hit me – the presentation of that dish is stunning! I will be keeping an eye out to see who wins this one – obviously whoever it is will be the talent to watch!

    Laura xx | Loved By Laura

  • Paola

    Such an interesting competition!!!!
    xo Paola
    My Facebook

  • The food looks absolutely mouthwatering! And what a great experience for young chefs to have, especially being able to have an experienced mentor and learn from the best.

  • I do love Dabbous, and what a great way to celebrate young talent!

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

  • Corinne C

    That food looks lovely! What a great experience for young budding chefs 🙂

    Corinne x

    • It’s such a fantastic experience and I can only imagine how nerve wracking the final must be!

  • The food presentation is amazing!! The judges look very handsome too. I hope you had fun trying different delicacies at the event!

  • awesome post!

    ♥ Ellen #NZblogger


    Facebook + Instagram

  • What a great competition! I am sure all these chefs are so talented, and the food is delicious. It would be hard to pick a winner!

    Ela BellaWorld

    • It’s interesting because a lot of it boils down to how calm you can stay under pressure though raw talent does come into it

  • Ellie Adams

    What a fabulous competition, and how amazing was the muesli? Looked delicious!


    • I’m sure you’d have loved the muesli if gluten free. By the way I passed on your article about the gluten free Fitzrovia place to a friend of mine

  • Just passing by dear.
    Have a nice day.


  • Ooh, this is exciting.
    Let me congratulate you on your new template. I like this. Easier to navigate and read.

    • Thanks Lux but I haven’t changed the template – it’s been the same since I started the blog 😉

  • Gary J Berry

    I had dinner at a pop-up event last year with Mark – incredible cooking! Gary x

  • glamourzone

    The food looks delicious
    Great competition

  • This is such a wonderful opportunity for young, talented chiefs to get extra recognition, as well as accolades, from people respected in the industry, as well as the ability to put their names on the map at such a young age. Thanks for sharing and the food looks so delicious! Have a great week ahead!



  • What a fun contest! I love watching cooking shows featuring the little guys–I swear, these 7 year olds can cook better than I could ever dream!;-)

  • What fun! Cute, young and they know how to cook ☺.