Jose Lorenzo Morales is on the far left, and Abhijit Dey is on the far right.

Winners for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Pacific Region have been announced, with Jose Lorenzo Morales of Melbourne taking out the top spot. At the final cook-off this week, Morales, commis chef at Lûmé, was declared the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Pacific Region winner with his signature dish, Analogy, which consisted of roasted lechón pork belly, shrimp bagoong paste, pandan rice crackers, latik caramel, and tamarind powder.

During the cook-off, contestant chefs were given five hours to prepare their dish, and present it to a panel of expert judges hailing from across Australia’s elite culinary enterprises. Included in the finalists were New Zealand’s very own Giada Grilli, chef de partie at Lillius Restaurant, and Abhijit Dey, sous chef at SO Auckland. Dey would go on to win the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, which was given to the participant who best represented their personal belief within their dish. He won the award with his Horopito Cured Wild Venison Cooked over Kanuka Wood, Karamu Berries and Feijoa Cream with Celeriac and Melson Valley Saffron Reduction.

Morales will go on to compete in the Grand Final of the competition in Milan on May 8th and 9th next year.