Rafael Covarrubias, 25, of Hexagon Restaurant in Oakville, Ontario has been crowned the winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition North America Regional Final. The young chef will represent North America at the Grand Finale of S.Pellegrino Young Chef that will be held in Milan in October 2021.
Chef Covarrubias won over the panel of esteemed culinary judges with his signature dish, Mole Negro Spiced Muscovy Duck, Preserved Prune, and Winter Roots. The panel of judges—including Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner, Connie DeSousa and John Jackson of CHARCUT Roast House, Rob Gentile of Buca Restaurants, food writer and author Jordana Rothman, and Michael Solomonov of Zahav—awarded Chef Covarrubias top marks for his technical skills, genuine creativity and an exceptional personal belief about gastronomy.
Rafael Covarrubias with his signature dish "Mole Negro Spiced Muscovy Duck, Preserved Prune, and Winter Roots"
The ecstatic young chef, speaking of his experience at the competition said: “I came to Canada from Mexico for the pure love of cooking, and I’m so honored to represent North America on a global culinary stage in Milan”, “I’ve met so many hardworking, talented chefs on this journey and I hope to inspire others to push themselves past their comfort zones to achieve their goals.”
At the Grand Finale in Milan in October 2021, Chef Covarrubias will compete against 11 other Regional Final winners from across the globe for the overall title of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020. Each young chef will present his or her dish to a jury of distinguished international chefs. To support Chef Covarrubias on his journey to the Grand Finale in Milan, he will be mentored by Connie DeSousa of CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary, Alberta.
To underline the commitment of S.Pellegrino Young Chef in recognizing and supporting the strong impact of gastronomy in culture and society, has been assigned also the following three awards.
Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy Winner: Jeremy Stephens
Jeremy Stephens of New Orleans, Louisiana and his Signature dish: Crawfish Boil
S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility Winner: Kathryn Ferries
Kathryn Ferries of Ottawa, Ontario and her Signature dish: Forest Honey Glazed Rabbit Ballotine with Fennel Chanterelles and Mustard Greens
Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award Winner: Marvin Palomo
Marvin Palomo of Oakville, Ontario and his Signature Dish: Dungenese Crab Chowanmushi
The winners of these three awards will be invited to attend the Grand Finale, affording them another opportunity to network with some of the biggest names of gastronomy.