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Acqua Panna for Connection Award: the Chinese He-Sen Liu wins

Great expectations for the final of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition

As preparations continue for the eagerly awaited Grand Finale of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022-23, to be held in Milan on 4 and 5 October 2023, the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy announces the winner of the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy: this is He-Sen Liu of the Linglong restaurant in Beijing, the representative of mainland China in the competition.

There are 15 regional finalists competing from all over the world to win the prize, awarded by the mentors of the Competition to the chef who best reflects the balance between the past and the future in his dish, while managing to represent the traditional gastronomic heritage of his country d 'origin. Italy was represented by Marco Apicella , chef of the Al Peschereccio restaurant in Vedano Olona (Varese), with his signature dish "Shades of snapper. Salt crust, dashi with Amalfi lemon and snapper oil, its terrine and chips with paté” .

It was He-Sen Liu who triumphed with his signature dish, "Homemade oyster sauce with Shandong wagyu", created with the help of his mentor, Wu Rong . «It is the first time that a young Chinese chef has received this important recognition. It means a lot to me,” Liu said. “All my efforts in recent years, coupled with the painstaking work at my Linglong restaurant, are inspired by the rich geography, abundant ingredients, and traditional cooking techniques of Chinese cuisine. My goal is to trace its historical diversity, while exploring the global fusion with integration and innovation. I strongly believe in the power of food and I am committed to honoring my culture, while evolving my cooking style with an open mind and a heart that cherishes tradition".

For his part, Stefano Bolognese , director of the Sanpellegrino International Business Unit, said: "Cultural heritage is the basis of gastronomy and we believe it is really important to be able to value our origins, showing the best that countries have to offer. At the same time, however, progress cannot be made without the influence of foreign elements and the beauty of different cultures coming together to create something new.He -Sen Liu embodies the perfect combination of tradition and evolution as, without forgetting his origins, has brought an innovative touch, expressing it in his dish. We are honored to give him the title of this edition".

Under the banner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy's commitment to paving the way for some of the most talented young chefs in the world, personal and professional growth is one of the main objectives of the competition. With this in mind, the Academy has created a series of stimulating workshops on topics relevant to the sector, dedicated to all the regional finalists. The finalists of the Acqua Panna for Connection in Gastronomy award participated in the "Cultural guardianship" workshop, moderated by Tom Jenkins , Fine Dining Lovers journalist and Academy spokesperson, which explored the role of chefs in celebrating and amplifying culture, creating something new with familiar flavors. The workshop offered participants the chance to hear and exchange views with chefs such as Debora Fadul , Jessica Rosval , David Martin and Stefan Stiller as well as journalists Andrew Friedman and Evelyn Chen .

Speaking of this undeniable link between cuisine and culture, Jenkins said, "These workshops have looked at the impact of food on culture globally. As one guest put it: 'Everything goes through food.' We looked at how the fusion of cuisines over the centuries has created the food culture we know today and, on a more personal level, we have heard wonderful stories from our chefs and experts about how food has enabled them not only to discover other cultures, but also to reconnect with own".

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EFA News - European Food Agency