The hottest young chef in the country works in Melbourne

  • Sep 11, 2017

The San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year award is a global competition pitting the best young culinary talent against each other, and we’ve just crowned the Aussie winner.

On Monday, some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s best young chefs, flanked by some of our more experienced ones (hello Jacques Reymond and Scott Pickett), battled in an epic all-day cook off before the winner was eventually crowned.

And we’re proud to say he works in Melbourne. A-thank you!

John Rivera from Armadale restaurant Amaru took out the top gong.

He’ll travel to Milan to take on the world’s best and he’ll have Melbourne legend Scott Pickett as his mentor.

John Rivera - Amaru

John Rivera – Amaru

A very nervous John addressed a crowd at Tonic at Crown Promenade and thanked his peers.

“I’m lost for words. I’m very humbled,” the former Lume chef said.


John beat nine other chefs to the punch, including three others from Melbourne; Mattia Oloisio – Osteria Ilaria, Zackary Furst – IDES and Matteo Toffano – Grossi Florentino.

About the San Pellegrino Young Chef

Ten semi-finalists from each of the 21 regions worldwide face off before winners are selected to attend the Grand Final.

They are selected from thousands of applications submitted by young chefs from more than 90 different countries.

The 10 hottest young chefs in the Aus/Pacific:

Matteo Toffano, Grossi Florentino, Melbourne, Victoria

Parveen Prasad, Intercontinental Hotel, Sydney, NSW

John Rivera, Amaru, Armadale, Victoria

Dario Manca, Pilu at Freshwater, Freshwater, NSW

Zackary Furst, Ides, Melbourne, Victoria

Robert Fairs, Roots, Christchurch, New Zealand

Mattia Aloisio, Osteria Ilaria, Melbourne, Victoria

Jason Kim, Sidart, Auckland, New Zealand

Joshua Gregory, Exp. Restaurant, Newcastle, NSW

William Mordido, Buko, Auckland, New Zealand

The judges

The winner was decided by a jury composed of leading independent chefs, based on the five Golden Rules; ingredients, skill, genius, beauty and message.

The judges were:

Christine Manfield, author & chef, Universal & Paramount, Sydney Australia

Scott Pickett, Estelle, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Paul Carmichael, Momofuku, Sydney, Australia

Andrew McConnell, Supernormal, Melbourne, Australia

Jacques Reymond, L’Hôtel Gitan, Melbourne, Australia