Paul Moran of the CMH-K2 Lodge in Nakusp, B.C., triumphed over nine other Canadian chefs at the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Canadian Regional Competition in Toronto this week.
Moran, who will pit his skills against 19 other young chefs at Expo Milan June 25-27, won with his signature dish: blood pigeon smoked and roasted, beet jus and charcoal oil, polenta and salsify.
In a twist for the international competition, an emerging stylist from each participating country will be chosen next month by Vogue Italia to produce a fashion creation inspired by the chefs' signature dishes. The winning designers and chefs will present together during the S. Pellegrino Talent Awards.
Judging Moran and the nine others at the Canadian final were chefs Susur Lee, Cory Vitiello and Matty Matheson.
During the next round of the competition, each of the 20 finalists will be able to draw on the expertise of a "mentor chef," who will provide coaching on how to become a better chef in the competitive culinary industry, along with suggestions for improving their signature dish.
Canada's mentor chef is Lee, owner of Lee, Bent and Luckee restaurants in Toronto and TungLok Heen in Singapore and Vietnam.
Last fall, more than 3,000 chefs from around the world applied to the online magazine FineDiningLovers.com, endorsed by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, to enter the new Young Chef 2015 program. Participants had to be under 30 with at least one year's experience working in a restaurant kitchen as a chef, sous chef or chef de partie.
In Milan, a jury of seven international chefs will pick the winning chef, while cuisine and fashion lovers will vote for the Best Couple Chef-Designer 2015.