With a dish of ayu, an indigenous river fish brought into Milan in his luggage, Japan's Yasuhiro Fujio outcooked 20 other contestants to take home the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 title, picking up the Taste of Authenticity Award on the way.
The biennial cooking competition aims to find the world's best chef under 30 in a five-hour cook-off for a jury of seven internationally known chefs.
Two Australian chefs – John Rivera, 24, from Melbourne restaurant Amaru (representing the Pacific region), and NSW-born Jake Kellie, now working at Burnt Ends in Singapore (competing for Southeast Asia) – made the final round of seven from a field of 21 contestants from around the world, with Kellie placing in the top three.
The chefs competed against 2000 others in regional contests, with the finalists converging on seven specially built kitchens in Milan on May 12 and 13 to cook their signature dishes.
Fujio's dish was chosen by the jury of seven chefs, among them Australian Brett Graham from London's Ledbury, Dominique Crenn and Ana Ros, both previous winners of the World's Best Female Chef title, and Virgilio Martinez of Peru's Central Restaurante.
On collecting his award, Fujio, who works at Osaka's two Michelin-starred French restaurant La Cime, told website Fine Dining Lovers: "I'm a little bit scared because I'm going to have to work even harder. Holding the title of S.Pellegrino Young Chef is a big responsibility. What I'm going to do from now on is turn that fear into courage."
The 21 finalists' dishes were scored on flavour, presentation, story and sense of place, with the highest-scoring dishes making up the final seven.
The winner of the Fine Dining Lovers People's Choice Award was Elizabeth Puquio Landeo from South America, one of only two women in the finals.
Roslyn Grundy was a guest of S.Pellegrino.