Brussels chef Alex Joseph in the running for one of the top culinary awards in the world
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Brussels chef Alex Joseph in the running for one of the top culinary awards in the world

Brussels chef Alex Joseph is in the running for one of the top culinary awards in the world. Alex, who hails from California, has won through to the semi final of the highly prestigious  S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition, a global talent search to find the world’s best young chef.

Alex, who is the chef-owner at ‘Rouge Tomate’ on Avenue Louise, will go head to head with ten other semi finalists from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on Monday at Bulthaup Cooking, Zaventem where he will have his dish assessed by a local jury.

The 29-year-old is currently fine tuning his entry: rabbit tasting with potato puree, seasonal vegetables, violet mustard and pickled wild onions.

Entrants are judged on various criteria, including choice of ingredients, skill of preparation and the “message” of a dish.

The candidates were chosen by the ALMA Cooking School, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian cuisine and picked from thousands of applications received from professional young chefs working in kitchens around the world.

The local jury members will choose a winning entry from each of 20 world areas, including Benelux. Once chosen, the 20 chefs will be paired with a young designer picked by Vogue Italia.

The 20 chef/designer duos will then begin work on a unique collaboration that will see each designer create a unique piece inspired by the chef’s dishes.

The final dishes and designs will be presented at a grand final in Italy during Expo Milano 2015where the winning entry for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 will be announced.

The maximum age limit for entrants is 30 and Alex only just qualifies as he will be 30 on 10 March.

Alex, who has worked in top restaurants in New York and San Francisco, has lived in Brussels for six years.

He said, “It has been hard working preparing for the semi final but, given the very intense competition from some of the top young chefs in Europe, it is quite an honour to have got this far.  I admit that I now want to go on and win!”

The Benelux jury comprises top chefs Sergio Herman, Kobe Desramaults, David Martin and Steven Dehaeze.

Belgian-born Herman won fame, fortune, three Michelin stars and a perfect 20/20 score in the Gault Millau guide at his parents’ restaurant, Oud Sluis in the Netherlands.

French chef Martin heads up the kitchen at La Paix, which was established in Anderlecht in 1892 and has one Michelin star. He is known for his imaginative French cuisine.

Dehaeze is currently the Belgian President of the Jeunes Restauranteurs D’Europe.

The chefs will be joined on the jury by journalists Catherine Gaudissart from Gastromania, Willem Asaert from Ambience, and Jean-Pierre Gabriel from Weekend Knack.

By Martin Banks