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The Local Jury Panel for the North America Region


North America Regional Final Takes Place on November 4th - 5th, 2019

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UPDATE: Discover the North America Regional winners of the 4th edition of S.Pellegrino Young Chef.

The local jury panel for the North America Regional Final has been confirmed and the date for this exciting cook off has been set! The semi-final of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020 for this region will take place on November 4th-5th 2019 in New York.

For this region, composed of USA and Canada, ten contestants have been selected, each accompanied by a mentor of their choice who will provide guidance and support during the competition.

Here is the list of the 10 regional finalists plus each of their chosen mentor chefs who will guide them throughout the regional finals:

Kathryn Ferries, mentor: Jason Sawision (Canada)
Francesco Di Marzio, mentor: Paolo Fegadoli (United States)
Jenny Dorsey, mentor: Preeti Mistry (United States)
Marvin Palomo, mentor: Nicholas Brian Liu (Canada)
Vincent Gilliard, mentor: Cristopher Roth (United States)
Yoann Therer, mentor: Lee Cooper (Canada)
Rafael Covarrubias, mentor: Antonin Mouseau-Rivard (Canada)
Garrett Martin, mentor: JP Pedhirney (Canada)
Camila Olarte, mentor: Manual Echeverri (United States)
Jeremy Stephens, mentor: Phillip L. Lopez (United States)

Each of the talents have passed a careful selection process by the team at ALMA, in accordance with the Golden Rules of the competition. They will prepare and present their Signature Dish to the local jury who will select the winning Finalist to go forth to the Grand Finale in Milan, October 2021.

The Local Jury Panel for the North America Region

Five acclaimed chefs and culinary experts form the local jury panel this year, each chosen due to their belief in and ability to support the S.Pellegrino Young Chef’s mission of nurturing the future of gastronomy through its support for the next generation of chefs.

Ashley Christensen (North Carolina)
Chef, restaurateur, author and culinary celebrity Ashely Christensen was awarded James Beard Award Best Chef Southeast in 2014 and Outstanding Chef in 2019. Based in North Carolina, USA, chef Christensen owns several restaurants in Raleigh including Poole’s Diner, Death & Taxes, and Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. She is also involved in a number of charities for the industry and is the author of “Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner”.

Connie DeSousa (Canada)
Dubbed the Primal Ballerina – for her years of formal dance training juxtaposed with her meat-centric culinary mastery – Connie DeSousa is one of Canada’s Top Chefs having starred as a finalist in season one of Top Chef Canada on the Food Network. She is co-chef and co-owner of CHARCUT Roast House, one of Canada’s best restaurants, and their food truck Alley Burger.

Rob Gentile (Canada)
Chef Rob Gentile is the chef director behind the critically acclaimed group of Buca restaurants in Canada, known for its traditional Italian cuisine mixed with Canadian ingredients. Buca was no.3 in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants in 2015.

Jordana Rothman (New York)
Jordana Rothman is a seasoned writer and editor, with a focus on American restaurant culture and a commitment to empowering marginalized voices in the food space. In her three years as Restaurant Editor at Food & Wine she transformed the magazine's most visible package, Best New Chefs, into a pioneering, industry-standard platform for meaningful, vertical inclusion. In 2015 she co-authored her first book, Tacos: Recipes + Provocations, with chef Alex Stupak of New York's Empellón restaurants; it was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award and three IACP cookbook awards, even though they slipped a "Hail Satan" into the recipe index.

Michael Solomonov (Pennsylvania)
Chef Michael Solomonov is co-founder of CookNSolo, a 300-employee Philadelphia company comprising 11 restaurants. He has won four James Beard awards, including Outstanding Chef in 2017 and Best Restaurant in America 2019 for his Israeli restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia. Zahav opened in 2008 to critical acclaim, putting Israeli cuisine firmly on the country’s culinary map. Solomonov’s cooking draws on Middle Eastern, North African, Mediterranean and Eastern European influences, and importantly, from a passion for the chef’s home country. He has also published a cookbook, based on the recipes of the restaurant, titled Zahav.

This year’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef initiative has been re-shaped to reflect the brand’s belief in the transformative power of gastronomy. That’s why from this edition S.Pellegrino Young Chef will include three additional awards, both at the Regional Finals level and the Grand Finale, intended to give voice to different personal beliefs: Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy, Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility .

The Finalist chosen from this Regional Final and Finalists of the three awards will be announced on as and when they take place. Find out more about S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2019-2020 and via our social media channels on Facebook and Instagram, and by following #Sanpellegrino and #SPYoungChef.