Mitch Lienhard from the US has been crowned the winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, which saw 20 of the most talented young chefs from around the world compete in the final in Milan.
Lienhard, from Manresa restaurant, Los Gatos, California, triumphed with a winning signature dish of roasted duck with spiced orange and yam which he described as a "reminder of his home state of Michigan; smelling of burning leaves and maple".
Commenting on his win, Lienhard said: "I feel like I've prepared for this moment, but I don't feel like I've prepared for this moment. I'm ecstatic."
Lienhard's dish impressed the jury of seven internationally-acclaimed chefs, known as the "Seven Sages", including David Higgs, Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack. The competition evaluation process was based on the criteria of the five "Golden Rules"; ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.
The Young Chef 2016 award ceremony was followed by a gala dinner prepared by Massimo Bottura, from Osteria Francescana of Modena, Italy.
This year's grand finale ceremony included two additional prizes.The Acqua Panna Contemporary Tradition Award, celebrating the dish that best presents traditional elements in a contemporary way, was given to Italian Alessandro Salvatore Raspisarda, and the most inspiring dish, the first ever award voted for by the public on www.finedininglovers.com, was presented to Daniel Nates from Mexico, representing Latin America.
Lienhard will now have the opportunity to gain worldwide visibility and a significant professional boost, as well as the chance to take part in several of S.Pellegrino events around the world, including but not limited to those related to the Young Chef competition.
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