Story by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor
S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 semifinal winner Sean MacDonald, who is also the executive chef at Market Restaurant in Calgary, is in Milan Italy representing Canada at the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 final competition against 19 of the world’s top chefs.
Competing against 10 of Canada’s rising young chefs, MacDonald won with his 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.
“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,” says MacDonald. “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.”
The S.Pellegrino Young Chef is a global talent search to find the best young chef in the world. Thousands of young chefs submitted their signature dish on Finedininglovers.com for a chance to compete in 2016 S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, with 200 semifinalsts chosen from 20 regions including Canada, Africa and Middle East, China, Russia Baltics CIS, Scandinavia and the United States. Ten Canadian semifinalists were selected by ALMA — the world’s leading international education and training centre for Italian Cuisine — which reviewed applications according to five criteria: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.
“It still hasn’t hit me that I’ll be going to Italy for the world finals. This was such an amazing experience, and I’m very happy I was able to be a part of it. I can’t wait to be mentored by chef Normand Laprise, whom I respect very much,” says MacDonald. “I’m very excited to be heading to Milan, and I’m honoured to represent not only Canada, but my hometown of Calgary.”
Laprise of Montreal’s Toque! will help shape MacDonald’s signature dish as Canada’s mentor chef, before travelling 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,” Laprise says.
On travelling to Milan, Laprise adds in a press release: “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.”
10 Canadian Semifinalists 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)
Michael Loyer (Chez Victoire, Montreal, QC)
CLICK HERE to see a full list of the finalists.