Heading up the jury for Scandinavia and the Baltics in the S.Pellegrino Local Competitions are chefs: Tom Sjöstedt, Per Hallundbæk, James Maxwell-Stewart, Henri Alen, Jānis Zvirbulis, Egidijus Lapinskas and Andrus Laaniste, each representing individual countries across the region.
The seven strong jury will be tasked with selecting the best young chef in the area, from a shortlist of 10 semi-finalists at the live S.Pellegrino Local Competition in Stockholm on 24 October 2017.
The winning young chef will continue his or her journey as part of the global search for the world’s best young chef under the mentorship of one of the local chef judges, until the Grand Finale in the summer of 2018 which takes place in Milan.
Meet the jury for Scandinavia and the Baltics
Tom Sjöstedt – Sweden
Swedish chef, Tom Sjöstedt, has come a long way since beginning his career working with his aunt at a golf course in Germany. Current joint owner of Lilla Ego restaurant in Stockholm, he is also an onscreen star as juror for Stjärnkockarna TV show in addition to helping with restaurants, cooking courses and other consulting activities. Tom Sjöstedt was also named the Chef of the Year 2008 in Sweden as well as participating in the Swedish Culinary Team when it won a gold medal at the World Cup in Luxembourg in 2006.
Per Hallundbæk -Denmark
Danish Relais & Chateaux chef and general manager, Per Hallundbæk, heads up the jury taking on the additional role of mentor in this competition. The Michelin starred chef of hotel and restaurant Falsled Kro in Millinge, western Denmark, will offer his tips and experience to support the regional finalist up until the Grand Finale.
Known for his "pure, clean, light-drenched cuisine with a Nordic twist" Per polished his skills in a number of Michelin starred restaurants across Europe after first attending Hotel Management School.
James Maxwell-Stewart - Norway
British born chef and owner of Cru Vin & Kjøkken, James Maxwell-Stewart, serves up modern British cuisine to willing diners in the Norwegian capital. His culinary career had humble beginnings, starting at just 15 years old washing up in a local pub before working in kitchens in the French Alps before moving to Norway in his early 20s, opening his first eatery age just 24.
He advises young chefs to enjoy the lifestyle of cooking and working in restaurants: “Work hard and learn from the best chefs.” While he admits cooking is a tough business, he believes that persistence pays off while “travel is inspiration” and “genuineness is key to succeed as a young chef.”
Henri Alen – Finland
Finnish chef, restaurateur and TV celebrity Henri Alén owns a portfolio of restaurants in Helsinki, including FinnJavel, Muru, Pastis and Bystro. The seasoned professional who started his career 20 years ago is known also for his long career in television, where he has made over 200 appearances that span MasterChef to American Food Battle. Henri has also written four cookbooks, and writes recipes for the largest newspaper in Finland, Helsingin Sanomat.
Janis Zvirbulis – Latvia
Janis Zvirbulis (Jānis Zvirbulis), chef of Bergs Restaurant in Riga, draws inspiration from the best French chefs in the world - Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and dessert master, Jerome Langillier - in his classic and contemporary French cuisine. The chef is especially proud of his lobster dish, cooked to an elaborate 100-year-old French recipe.
Egidijus Lapinskas – Lithuania
Chef at fine dining restaurant Dine in Vilnius, Lapinskas is widely considered one of the best chefs in Lithuania and has made his name working in several establishments throughout the capital.
Andrus Laaniste – Estonia
Estonian chef, Andrus Laaniste, hails from Restaurant Konrad at Palace Hotel in Tallinn. He is well known for using local and pure ingredients, modern technologies, traditions and trends to create impressive flavours that create and complete the dining experience.