Luke Dale-Roberts. Margot Janse. Liam Tomlin. Bertus Basson. Any self-respecting South African foodie will know these names well. But who the hell is Angelo Scirocco?
Let me tell you.
He’s the guy who has been hand-picked to represent an entire continent in a global search for the best young chef in the world right now.
That’s quite something.
Quite why this story hasn’t received more attention is beyond me. Angelo has clawed, kicked and scrapped his way to the top of a pile of local hopefuls to now be standing amongst peers from as far as Australia, Norway, Canada and China. He has conceptualised a dish and executed it perfectly. He has remained calm in intense, fierce pressure situations and he has spent every spare second (he is the sous chef at Chef’s Warehouse so his day-to-day life is hardly a breeze) tweaking and trying to perfect an already accomplished dish.
In a few days he flies to Milan to represent the Africa/Middle East region at the San Pellegrino Young Chef Awards. He will be cooking for a panel including culinary powerhouses like Gastón Acurio, Yannick Alléno, Massimo Bottura, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Joan Roca and Grant Achatz. Even to be standing in front of chefs of that caliber is an incredible achievement.
I don’t know Angelo well but I do know this: that guy is a true chef. When I deliver a box of unexpected meat (I do that a lot at at Chef’s Warehouse!), his eyes light up. You can see him thinking how he’s going to cook it. How he’s going to portion it. What he’s going to do with it. He is ambitious, hard-working and humble. He plates food beautifully but he can talk tails, trotters and offal better than most his age. He is part of a young bunch of chefs emerging in this country that we should all be celebrating. I don’t know if his dish will win in Italy but I do know that he should have received far more credit than he has. Just for getting there.
The dish he’s submitted is titled Milk is Thicker Than Water. It is a complex, elegant interpretation of panna cotta, showcasing textures of milk in various forms. By concentrating on milk fat content he has created a light, floral dish with delicate subtleties. It is a beautiful plate of food but – as with any good chefs – flavour was what drove it.
I’ll be rooting for him in Italy. But in my eyes the guy has already won, just for putting South Africa on that stage.
Go forth and eat,
P.S. You can vote for Angelo’s dish by clicking the link below: