Matteo Cignetti, a 19-year-old Italian student, is the best young chef in the world. Matteo Cignetti grew up in Strambino, a small town in Piedmont, and is pursuing a degree at the École Hôtelière de la Vallee d’Aoste.
The young chef led the Italian team to its first victory at the Young Chef Olympiad, an international competition for talented young chefs held every year in India. The 2022 edition was attended by 42 participants from all over the world.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 8th Young Chef Olympiad was held online. Like the other 42 competitors, Cignetti competed from his school kitchen. All participants were filmed and examined by chefs of international caliber, who watched them from afar. Two chefs were present on-site to taste the dishes on-site and provide feedback.
“Tension was very high,” says the young Italian. “For almost three hours, we had to cook and explain to the judges what we were doing without seeing their faces or the other participants.”
Matteo Cignetti’s cooking performance focused on sustainability. The young chef said he is “very much aware of the impact of man on the environment”. Therefore, his cuisine is essential and based on ethical and sustainable ingredients. Vegetables are central to his dishes but he also wants to “return to the rhythms of a time when meat was for special occasions“.
For the competition, Cignetti prepared his Granny Roast Chicken and a citrus and chocolate tartlet, for which he used every part of the fruit, even those usually thrown away. Both recipes aim to reduce food waste.
In an interview for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Matteo Cignetti said his passion for food dates back to his early childhood and his family’s traditions. “Food is emotion, and cooking is an act of love“, he said. Italian traditional dishes inspire this talented young man, who has clear ideas about the future he wants for himself and everyone else on this planet.
Jean-Pierre Guichardaz, Councilor of the Valle d’Aosta Region, celebrated Matteo Cignetti’s victory: “Matteo’s high level of preparation and motivation guaranteed an excellent result. His victory makes us proud and motivates us more and more to invest in high-quality education and training.”