Angelo Scirocco won a chance to compete at the prestigious S Pellegrino Talent Awards in Milan.
Angelo Scirocco won a chance to compete at the prestigious S Pellegrino Talent Awards in Milan.
Angelo Scirocco's milk-based dish.
Angelo Scirocco's milk-based dish.

Cape Town - A dish with milk as its main component has secured Cape Town chef Angelo Scirocco a spot to compete at the prestigious S Pellegrino Talent Awards in Milan.

The 24-year-old, whose winning dish was called “Milk is Thicker than Water”, will represent the Middle East and Africa region at the finals in June during Expo Milano 2015, and will compete against 19 other young chefs from across the world.

Scirocco, a sous chef at Chefs Warehouse & Canteen in Bree Street, beat nine chefs in the semi-finals held at the South African Chefs Academy in Observatory. More than 3 000 young chefs applied for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 Challenge , the global scouting project to find the world’s best young chefs.

The regional challenge saw the chefs preparing their signature dishes under the watchful eye of top chefs such as award-winning chef David Higgs, Lebanese chef Joe Barza and Uwe Micheel, president of the Emirates Culinary Guild.

The contestants were judged according to the five golden criteria: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.

I got to taste all of the dishes. Scirocco’s milky dessert was the prettiest of them all. He served the dish in a bowl on a wooden tray. It was topped with two thin sheets of stretched meringue.

“It is a combination of different ideas of courses that would include typical ingredients in each separate course. This dish has since progressed into a dessert,” says Scirocco.

“The original recipe was a little complex and I had to refine it over a few months and simplify it in a way that still worked best without losing the flavours… You only get once shot in a competition like this, it had to impress,” he says.

Other dishes that impressed included a “Tribute to Local Lamb” by Rahil Rathod, chef de partie of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dubai; Rust en Vrede Restaurant sous chef Katlego Mlambo’s dish, named “Cape Coast Roack Pool”; and a “Parma wrapped slow-cooked rabbit” by chef Darren Badenhorst of Grande Provence.

The final round will see each of the finalists matched to a “mentor chef”, who will help them improve their recipes. David Higgs of Five Hundred at The Saxon Hotel in Joburg, has been named Scirocco’s mentor.

Higgs’s career spans almost a quarter of a century and highlights include winning the title of 2013 Eat Out S Pellegrino Chef of the Year, running The Higgs School of Good Cooking and cooking for Nelson Mandela.

“This experience has opened new doors for me and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.

“I look forward to Higgs’s guidance and to grow as a young chef. I also look forward to bringing this award home on behalf of my fellow colleagues,” says Scirocco.

The S Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 challenge now enters its third phase, and will partner with Vogue Italia.

Vogue Italia will see the 20 finalists assigned to emerging fashion designers from across the world, who will be tasked with creating a fashion design inspired by the chefs’ signature dishes.

During Expo Milano a jury of seven renowned international chefs – Gastón Acurio, Yannick Alléno, Massimo Bottura, Margot Janse, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Éric Ripert and Joan Roca – will choose the S Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 winner. People attending the event will vote for the Best Couple Chef-Designer 2015.

* Exclusive content about the project, the signature dishes and the fashion creations, are published on www.finedininglovers.com.