The global event is set to take place in Milan on 13 October with 20 finalists from across 190 countries.
In the UK event - which is open to professional chefs aged under 30 - Kataras from M Restaurants competed against nine other finalists, at The Waitrose Cookery School in Finchley, north London, last night (Tuesday 21). He won with a dish of ‘Whole Turbot’, with cured turbot, smoked turbot sauce, pickled courgettes, and courgette purée.
The judging panel included Claude Bosi of two Michelin-starred London restaurant Hibiscus, Ollie Dabbous of London’s one-star Dabbous, JP McMahon of Cava Bodega in Galway, and Ross Lewis of one-star Chapter One, Dublin.
The judges in Milan will include prestigious figures such as David Higgs, Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack.
The other finalists were Adam Handling – who has just opened his own London venture, The Frog ‒, Romauld Bukaty of Avenue by Nick Munier, Dublin; Francesco Simone Sodano of Annabel’s Club, London; Ian Musgrave of The Ritz hotel, London; Brandon Clemens of Kaspar’s at The Savoy, London; Cornelia Suehr of The Grill at The Dorchester, London; Gareth Ruck of Hogan Lovell’s Fine Dining; Lukasz Wacirz of Llangoed Hall in Wales; and Alfonso Giugliano of The Cornerstone Restaurant in Cork.
Commenting on the competition, Bosi said: “The calibre of dishes presented this evening was hugely impressive, but George Kataras’s dish stood out with its flavour, the skill involved, beauty of presentation and the true message behind it.”
Kataras said: “My dish is inspired by the summer and my favourite seasonal ingredients. I like to cook without using any food wastage, which happens far too often in this industry. My dish is…now included on my menu. To win the S.Pellegrino UK and Ireland final is a dream come true and I can’t wait to perfect my dish with Claude Bosi in the lead up to the global Milan final.”
Last year’s global winner was Mark Moriarty, of the UK and Ireland, who was mentored by Clare Smyth and won with a baked celeriac dish.