S.Pellegrino(R) Almost Famous Chef(R) Competition

S.Pellegrino(R) Almost Famous Chef(R) Competition

January 27, 2010 12:53 ET

Montreal Resident Justine de Valicourt Wins 8th Annual S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Canada Regional Competition

Exceptional culinary student earns a spot in the Finals for a chance to become the next culinary star

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 27, 2010) -

Editors Note: A photo is available with this Press Release.

Last night at The Calphalon Culinary Center, Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) student Justine de Valicourt showcased her culinary talents to take home the winning spot against some of the best culinary students in the country. Assembled celebrity judges Chef Mario Gagnon of Allegro Restaurant at Hilton Québec, Chef Eric Koop of Restaurant Aix Cuisine du Terroir in Montréal, Chef Anne Yarymowich of FRANK Restaurant in Toronto, Chef Chris Mills of Joey Restaurant in Vancouver and Chef Anthony Walsh of Canoe Restaurant in Toronto awarded de Valicourt the coveted title and the rare chance to compete at the Finals Competition to be held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in Napa Valley, Calif., March 5-8, 2010.

In a rigorous race against the clock with fierce competition from seven fellow culinary students representing her alma mater as well as Toronto's George Brown Chef's School, The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Vancouver and École hôtelière de la Capitale in Québec City, de Valicourt wowed the judges with her innovative signature dish recipe, Venison in Wooden Flavours. After a grueling in-depth evaluation from the judging panel, de Valicourt was met with cheers and applause as she was crowned the Canadian Regional winner during a lively tasting reception for local media, chefs and invited guests.

"I am so excited to have won the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Canadian Regional Competition," says de Valicourt. "The actual competition was intense but it was an opportunity to meet some great chefs and other talented people. I can't wait for Napa and the chance to improve my skills further."

During the three-day finals, de Valicourt will compete against 10 other regional winners from across the United States and for the first time in the contest history, some of the best culinary students from Italy, Mexico and Puerto Rico in front of a panel of food media, distinguished guests and renowned chefs. The overall winner will take the title, up to $20,000 in prizes and a paid apprenticeship from one of the participating chef judges. Last year's winner, David Awad, is currently working at Michael White's Alto in NYC, which just received a Michelin Star.

This year will also be the first time that the competition will be streamed live via the Almost Famous Chef website and Facebook, so fans can interact with each other and with Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame, the live streaming host. The finals competition as well as the Las Vegas regional will be featured in the live streaming events. From now and throughout the competition, Facebook fans and Twitter followers receive updates and insider information like interviews with past competitors and with celebrity chefs involved in the program. These updates to the competition allow fans a unique perspective on what it takes to be a chef – from culinary school to a restaurant's kitchen.

About the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition For centuries, Acqua Panna Natural Spring Water and S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water have complemented fine food, wine and the dining occasion. In support of this passion of gastronomy and their commitment to the culinary arts, the Almost Famous Chef Competition was founded in 2001 as a mentoring program that connects top culinary students with established chefs and influential media. Since then, this program has helped to launch hundreds of culinary careers and refined the skills of a new generation of chefs. Through the Almost Famous Chef Competition, student chefs are given the opportunity to gain unmatched experience, while cooking in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world. For more information, please visit www.almostfamouschef.com or www.thesparklinglife.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow the competition on Twitter at AFChefComp.

To view the photo associated with this Press Release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20100127-0127800.jpg.

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