Kenichiro Sekiya from L’Atelier Joel Robuchon in Japan, has been named the winner of the renowned Le Taittinger Prix Culinaire International following a closely fought final at Ferrandi in Paris. Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger and his daughter Vitalie and son Clovis presented the trophy at the evening celebration which took place at the iconic Hotel Lutetia.
Six national finalists from France, Japan, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK – which Tom Scade from the Ritz won for the second time in a row – fought it out for the first prize of €10,000. The theme of the 2018 final was Turban of Sole accompanied by two garnishes – one from artichoke hearts topped with a soufflé and the other a freestyle choice from the competitor, plus a sauce. In addition, the competing chefs had to produce a starter of their choice based on the theme of a hen’s egg.
The dishes were tasted and judged blind by a prestigious international Michelin star studded panel, who between them held 14 Michelin stars. The panel included the UK presidential Judge Michel Roux, Le Gavroche, London and was headed up the Jean Paul Bostoen from the 3 Michelin starred restaurant L’Auberge de L’ll.
Anthony Maillet from Le Floris in Switzerland came second and received €4,800, and third prize went to Tom Scade from The Ritz in London who won €2,500.
Vitalie Taittinger comments: ‘I have had the honour of being part of Le Taittinger Prix Culinaire final for over 10 years and it never fails to amaze me how talented these young chefs are. Every year the competition gets tougher and every year these chefs rise to the challenge and deliver beyond expectations. I know we must have one winner but in my eyes all the contestants that have made it here are winners.’
The competition, which was set up 52 years ago, is open to chefs between the ages of 24 and 39, with over five years’ experience. Often referred to as the ‘Everest of Gastronomy’, it demonstrates Champagne Taittinger’s commitment to the promotion of young, upcoming chefs.