S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

Stefan Barca of the Metropolitan Grill in Belgrade, Serbia, has won the East Europe region semi-final of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition - the inaugural global talent search to find the world’s best young chef. The 21-year-old chef was chosen to travel to the grand final in Milan in June, where he will compete with 19 other young chefs from around the globe to be crowned the world’s best young chef. Barca beat nine other semi-finalists with his signature dish, playfully entitled Who Killed The Bambi.

A jury panel comprising chefs Jiří Štift, Jerzy Pasikowski and Florin Dumitrescu (pictured above together with the winner) was suitably impressed with the dish, which was judged on five key elements: ingredients, skill, originality, presentation and message. “All ten contestants from Eastern Europe showed creativity and refinement,” said Dumitrescu. “I was impressed by their talent and their ability to share a story throughout their dishes. The winner Stefan Barca was the best to demonstrate all these assets.”


Belgrade-born Barca studied at the college of hotel management in his hometown, before working stages at various Michelin-star kitchens in Europe, including Gourmet Restaurant Silvio Nickol at the Palais Coburg in Vienna, and Restaurant Lerbach in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, under Nils Henkel. He joined the Hyatt Regency Belgrade in 2012, where he now works as chef de partie at Metropolitan Grill. “It's a great honour for me to be a part of probably the best competition in the world for young chefs,” said an excited Barca. “I enjoyed every single minute through this semi-final with nine other amazing chefs and jury members. I'm really proud that I will represent the Eastern European Region in the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Competition in Milano.”

He now faces the ultimate test at Expo Milano 2015, where he will be mentored by a master chef from his own region, who will guide him through the intricate process of honing his signature dish. Teaming up with a young fashion designer chosen by Vogue Italia, his efforts will be judged by a panel that reads like a who’s who of contemporary gastronomy: Joan Roca, Massimo Bottura, Gaston Acurio, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Yannik Alleno, Margot Janse, and Eric Ripert.