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Melbourne-based Chef takes Australian-Filipino food to the world stage at S. Pellegrino Young Chef Finals

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Melbourne-based Filipino-Australian Jose Lorenzo Morales has been selected as the Pacific regional winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2019.

“In 2019, I was judged by an iconic line up of chefs. Peter Gilmore (Quay), Christine Manfield, Dan Hunter (Brae) Danielle Alvarez (Fred’s) and Jock Zonfrillo (MasterChef). I won best candidate out of 12 contestants and for that I am very grateful,” Jose Lorenzo Morales said.

A major component of the prize package was a trip to Milan to compete in the S.Pellegrino Grand Finale. However, because of the pandemic, this did not happen. Nevertheless, footage of Jose Lorenzo Morales preparing and cooking his dish was featured on the live stream of the event on Fine Dining Lovers last 29 October, where viewers and supporters worldwide were able to watch, applaud and salivate over.

Jose’s signature dish, ‘Analogy’, combines roasted lechón pork belly, pandan rice cracker, shrimp bogoong paste, latik caramel, and tamarind powder.

The dish speaks eloquently and passionately to Jose’s love of the Philippines, Australia and family, which he has consummately bought together in this plate.

Bogoong, a fermented young krill, is a traditional ingredient that is popular in the Philippines. The krill imparts a unique, salty, sea flavour through the dish. The Lechón (Spanish for young pork) is a meat traditionally served at celebratory occasions such as birthdays or weddings. TheLechón is slow roasted over coconut wood for 6-8 hours, making the pork simultaneously succulent and crispy.

San Pellegrino - Jose Morales 2021_GRIFFIN SIMM
Jose Morales | PHOTO: GRIFFIN SIMM

Jose shares how he prepares his pork for his Analogy dish:

“The S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition required no mandatory skillset but asked us to use what culture and experience we have. I am very honoured to be able to share this concept and my background as a Filipino Australian. The dish, entitled Analogy, was designed to show strength through unity of all cultures.”

In 2014, Jose Morales moved to the United States and commenced his career in Chicago, Illinois, at the respected 3-Michelin star restaurant Grace under the tutorage of Curtis Duffy. Now in Melbourne, Jose Lorenzo Morales is working at the restaurant Omnia (South Yarra) in the position of Chef de Partie.

Although disappointed that he won’t be making it to Milan and competing this year, Jose understands that the impact of the pandemic has been tragic for not just himself but everyone in the hospitality industry.

The Milanese Grand Jury is called the ‘seven sages’ and consists of Enrico Bartolini, Manu Buffara, Andreas Caminada, Mauro Colagreco, Gavin Kaysen, Clare Smyth and Pim Techamuanvivit. Collectively, they will judge dishes based on technical skill, creativity, personal belief, and the candidates’ potential to create positive change in society through food.

The chef who displays these attributes most successfully during the cook-off on 29 October was crowned the winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2019-21, which was awarded to a Swedish man of Filipino origin, Jerome Ianmark Calayag, representing the UK and Northern Europe.

“A competition like this is so important and to have a global competition is just outstanding,” said Peter Gilmore, owner of Quay restaurant and S. Pellegrino Young Chef finalist mentor.

“The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy competition is one of the primary tools reinforcing our commitment to stimulate and nurture meaningful creativity to push continuous evolution, not only within the gastronomy sector but society as a whole. That’s what makes the Grand Finale such an important date for us and for the global culinary calendar,” added S.Pellegrino International Business Unit Director, Stefano Bolognese.


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