Young chef Sean Macdonald in race to win S.Pellegrino title

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Macdonald will represent Canada at the big Milan competition

Sean’s signature dish “Duck and Carrot

Chef Sean MacDonald (Executive Chef, Market Restaurant, Calgary) has soared a above the pack with his signature dish “Duck and Carrot”, earning the opportunity to compete against 19 of the world’s top chefs for the S.Pe
llegrino Young Chef 2016
title in Milan on October 13, 2016. Sean had to face  remarkable performances by ten of Canada’s rising young chefs to get to the top spot.

Chef MacDonald was among the ten semi-finalists chosen to compete before a jury of renowned chefs –Normand Laprise (Toqué! and Brasserie T!, Montreal, QC), Connie DeSousa (Charcut, Calgary, AB) and Rob Gentile (Buca, Bar Buca and Buca Yorkville, Toronto, ON) – who evaluated signature dishes of each semi-finalist based on the five “Golden Rules”: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.

Sean MacDonald

Seventy guests including restaurateurs, media and culinary enthusiasts attended the exclusive gathering at the Art Gallery of Toronto on June 6th to experience the dramatic competition first-hand. Guests enjoyed a 10-course tasting menu featuring signature dishes by the 10 semi-finalists, as the judges tasted and evaluated each young chef’s dish. Attendees were invited to vote for their personal favourites with Sean MacDonald sweeping the night and also unanimously awarded the People’s Choice winner.

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The 10 Canadian Semi-Finalists included:

  • Jorge Muñoz Santos (Bar Oso, Whistler, BC)
  • Yoann Therer (Araxi, Whistler, BC)
  • Alison Ramage (Design to Dine, Vancouver, BC)
  • Carmen Ingham (Meat and Bread, Vancouver, BC)
  • Bobby Milheron (Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Vancouver, BC)
  • Steven Squier (Delta Bessborough, Saskatoon, SK)
  • Jordan Carlson (Deseo Bistro, Winnipeg, AB)
  • Sean MacDonald (Market Restaurant, Calgary, AB).
  • Hayden Johnston (Richmond Station, Toronto, ON)

Normand Laprise will help shape Chef MacDonald’s signature dish as Canada’s mentor chef, before traveling to Milan to compete for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 title. “It’s amazing to see how a chef’s personality shines through their dish. As a mentor, I’ll work with Chef MacDonald to channel his raw talent and creativity, ultimately refining his technique and organization.” On traveling to Milan, Laprise says, “These chefs are like family, regardless of where they’re from, so it’s always exciting to work side by side with the world’s best in the pursuit of creating spectacular food.”

With a signature dish of pan-roasted duck breast, brined in fennel juice and served with caramelized carrot, pickled fennel, roasted date jam and star anise jus, Chef Sean MacDonald is ready to make his mark on the world stage. “As a boy, you grew up eating carrots out of the garden. The natural sweetness and the way they grow in Alberta is second to none. Naturally, I thought pairing the duck and carrot together had some great components and made for a very simple dish that let the natural flavours shine.”

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Follow the hashtag #SPYoungChef for images from the event and to follow Chef MacDonald’s journey.

S.Pellegrino Young Chef is a unique initiative created by the world-famous sparkling water, S.Pellegrino to reaffirm its commitment to developing emerging talents and enhancing fine dining culture throughout the world.

Since January 2016, thousands of young chefs from around the world submitted their signature dish on for a chance to compete in 2016 S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, a global talent search to find the best young chef in the world. 10 Canadian Semi-Finalists were selected by ALMA – the world’s leading international education and training centre for Italian Cuisine – who reviewed thousands of applications according to five Golden Rules: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, and message.

Last Four Phases

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 now enters the last of its four phases, where each of the 20 regional finalists from around the world will be assigned a “Mentor Chef”, or globally-renowned culinary master, who will prepare them for the final competition and advise on ways to improve their signature dishes.

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Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux Normand Laprise (Toqué! and Brasserie T!, Montreal, QC), has been selected as mentor chef, passing on a philosophy that’s followed by many. Laprise is a judge on the French CBC television series LES CHEFS!, and has appeared as a guest chef around the world. Recent accolades include the James Beard Foundation Award for his book Toqué! Creators of a new Québec Gastronomy, as well as Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec and Honoris Causa Diploma from the Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec. In 2012, Laprise was voted Chef of the Year by Maclean’s magazine and was a member of the 2013 judging panel in S. Pellegrino’s Almost Famous Chef Competition.

On October 13, 2016 in Milan, a jury of seven celebrated international chefs known as the Seven Sages—David Higgs, Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack— will determine the winner of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016, following the five Golden Rules.

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