STAMFORD, Conn., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Ten of the most talented culinary rising stars will face off in Napa, in early March, during the 9th annual S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition. A lineup of world famous chefs will converge to judge and mentor the student chefs from all over the U.S. and Canada during the three-day battle.
This year's chef judges include Rick Moonen of rm Seafood. Rick has served as a judge for the past three years and acted as a mentor to the participating students. He currently employs a 2009 S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef alumnus at rm Seafood. Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia will also be judging the competition. Tony currently employs a 2010 alumnus at two of his Chicago based restaurants. Both Tony and Rick are familiar with the fast-paced competitive cooking world as both have appeared on Bravo's Top Chef Masters. Michel Richard of Citronelle will also act as chef judge and mentor throughout the three day competition.
The first competition of its kind, the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition serves as a platform for international culinary schools to showcase their students' culinary expertise during a fast-paced, high-pressure cooking competition. Students have the rare opportunity to compete against one another in front of a panel of food media, distinguished guests and renowned chefs. The overall winner will take the title, up to $20,000 in prizes and a paid apprenticeship from one of the participating chef judges.
"Through the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition, I have gotten to know chefs that I have only dreamed of meeting. I am excited for my upcoming graduation, so I can embark on my culinary career using the connections I made in Miami and Napa," said Luis Young, reigning Almost Famous Chef.
Ten regional winners will be flown to the finals event taking place March 11 - 14, 2011, at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, Calif. They will compete in three categories: the Mystery Basket, Signature Dish and People's Choice. The three days of competition are fierce, with the esteemed panel of judges evaluating competitors on every detail from the taste, texture and aroma of the dish, to their presentation, kitchen skills and the ability to perform under pressure.
The 2011 Almost Famous Competition is now underway. Students are sharpening their knives preparing to go under the critical eye of the esteemed judges to see who will be this year's champion.
For more information on the S.Pellegrino brand and the competition, visit www.almostfamouschef.com, www.thesparklinglife.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow the competition on Twitter at AFChefComp.
About the S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition
For centuries, Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water and S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water have complemented fine food, wine and the dining occasion. In support of this passion for gastronomy and their commitment to the culinary arts, The Almost Famous Chef Competition was founded in 2001 as a mentoring program that connects top culinary students with established chefs and influential media. Since then, this program has helped to launch hundreds of culinary careers and refined the skills of a new generation of chefs. Through the Almost Famous Chef Competition, student chefs are given the opportunity to gain unmatched experience, while cooking in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world. For more information, please visit www.almostfamouschef.com, or for additional information or to access the award-winning student recipes, please visit www.thesparklinglife.com.