TORONTO — At the 2016 S. Pellegrino Young Chef Award Grand Finale in Milan, chef Mitch Lienhard from the U.S. won first place with his roasted duck with spiced orange and yam. The jury — David Higgs, Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack — selected the winning dish based on ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.
Lienhard competed against 20 finalists from around the world. His winning dish was conceived and crafted with the guidance of his mentor, Dominique Crenn — winner of the 2016 World’s Best Female Chef award.
Representing Canada in the finals was Calgary’s Sean MacDonald with his signature duck and carrot dish, which honoured his grandfather’s favourite foods. His mentor in the competition was Relais and Chateaux Grand chef Normand Laprise.
“This opportunity has opened many new doors for me and I am excited to see where it takes me,” says MacDonald. “It is very motivating and inspiring to be working around some of the culinary greats. Not placing first stoked the fire in me and I can’t wait to push harder.”
The competition came to a close with a gala dinner to celebrate the finalists and to announce two new awards: the Acqua Panna Contemporary Award and the S. Pellegrino Inspiring Message Award. The former was awarded to Alessandro Salvatore Raspisarda from Italy and the latter to Daniel Nates from Mexico.