Ten of the country’s best young chefs under the age of 30 sweated it out in a no-knives barred cooking contest this week for the coveted title of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef semifinalist. The winner will represent the United States in an international cooking competition in Milan at the grand finale this year, going head-to-head against young chefs from 20 other regions around the world.
Although all 10 chefs on Tuesday brought the heat, the winner was declared to be chef Mitch Lienhard of Manresa, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Los Gatos, California. His simple roast duck with spiced orange and yams dish impressed the panel of five judges, which included Bryce Shuman of Betony and the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Female Chef 2016 winner, Dominique Crenn.The duck skin was perfectly crispy and the meat itself was tender, juicy, and appealingly pink. His dish was thought to be the most impressive, based on strict criteria of five “Golden Rules”: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, and message.
“The level of creativity and culinary expertise demonstrated by all chef competitors was inspiring,” Crenn said. “We were particularly impressed with Chef Liehnard who demonstrated the qualities necessary to stand out on a global stage. We feel confidently he will be a fantastic contender at the S.Pellegrino 2016 Young Chef Grand Finale.”
Crenn will be traveling with Lienhard to Milan, where she will be his mentor in the quest to win the prestigious title of the World’s Best Young Chef.