On May 13 in Milan took place the world final of San Pellegrino Young Chef – one of the most prestigious culinary competitions dedicated to young chefs under 30 year’s old. This relatively recent competition enjoys huge visibility due to the high organizational level and strict evaluation criteria.
Adepts, by submitting the application, describe in detail their signature dish, its ingredients and the main theme. They also attach a photo. Next, the chosen ones are invited to the regional semi-finals, from which the finalists are selected.
Between 10 and 13 May, 21 chefs-finalists from around the world prepared their signature dishes in Milan under the guidance of their mentors for a demanding jury consisting of such prominent figures as Ana Roš, Dominique Crenn, Brett Graham, Margarita Forés, Anna Féolde, Paul Pairet and Virgilio Martínez Véliz.
Poland and more globally Central and Eastern Europe, was represented by Marcin Popielarz, the chef of the Biały Królik restaurant in Gdynia, whose Polish mentor was Wojciech Amaro and during final – Matteo Monti (due to the absence of the latter).
Marcin prepared halibut smoked with smoke from hay harvested on the Vistula Spit. The fish was served with sour cream, cucumber, dill, horseradish and young herbs. It was a pure reference to the regional cuisine, which he knows well from the family home. The dish was complemented with granita flavored with cider, gin and water from pickled cucumbers and chips made of powdered Polish seaweed. The dish, as well as the whole Marcin’s cuisine, was based on seasonal and local products typical for northern Poland.
It was the taste and consistent philosophy behind the dish that captivated the jury. Consequently, Marcin was elected to the first seven and then to the great three finalists as the only representative of Europe. This is a huge success of Poland and its north part called Tri-city (consisting of three big cities: Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia living in symbiosis) , showing that Polish cuisine can be competitive on a global scale and that Polish chefs are huge talents.
For Marcin, who is dynamically and consistently realizing his goals, San Pellegrino Young Chef is the next step on the road to recognition, proving that hard work combined with passion really brings results.