At the recent MICHELIN Star Revelation 2023 ceremony, after the star revelations, the winner of the MICHELIN Young Chef Award Presented by Blancpain was among the most anticipated announcements. Sponsored by the time-honoured Swiss watch brand, receiving this award is a dream come true for many young chefs, who view it as a recognition of their dedication to their culinary craft and their desire to contribute to the world of gastronomy. This level of commitment and innovation is central to Blancpain’s vision and philosophy, and the renowned watchmaker joins Michelin in nurturing and supporting outstanding creativity.
It was no surprise when this year’s winner was announced as Chef Davide Garavaglia of Côte by Mauro Colagreco, as he was pivotal to the restaurant receiving one MICHELIN Star in its first year. With his exceptional skills and inventiveness, this young Italian chef has garnered much deserved attention, culminating in this plaudit. Fresh from this achievement, Chef Garavaglia shares his thoughts on the occasion.
“It goes without saying that this award makes me very happy as it is a sign of success for all the work I’ve put in. But I don’t think that this award is just for my work because there is a whole team behind my success, supporting me every day.”
Some dreamed of becoming a chef ever since they were little, helping their parents or grandparents in the kitchen. Not so for Garavaglia. This award-winning young chef spoke of a normal Italian family without the romantic childhood longings for a life in the culinary world. Destiny found another way to guide his path.
“When I was about 13 years old and still in school, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I do remember at one point wanting private lessons to become a pilot, but there wasn’t enough money for me to do that. Then a friend and I thought why not try hotel school. After a year, I loved it. From there, I discovered cooking. Every day I had the opportunity to learn in the kitchen, and each time brought back memories of my childhood. I remembered the smell of the kitchen where I would spend time with my grandfather. I spent a lot of time with him when I was a kid. Then I studied, working 12 hours a day. This increased my motivation and desire to be the best in this profession that I fell in love with.”
After his studies, he had the opportunity to develop his skills with hands-on experience at the two MICHELIN Starred D’O with Chef Davide Oldani in Milan and then at Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s three MICHELIN Starred Sketch in London. In 2015, Chef Garavaglia joined Chef Mauro Colagreco at Mirazur, where he proved himself an essential team member and was eventually offered to help Chef Colagreco establish Côte by Mauro Colagreco in Bangkok.
This young Italian chef explained that his experience at such renowned fine-dining restaurants instilled his commitment to the highest quality work, which has led to his experience and achievements being recognised by MICHELIN.
When asked to speak of the most instructive and influential moments as he looked back on his career path that led to his culinary excellence and this young chef award, he reflected:
“I’m 33 now, but, to be honest, I don’t consider myself ‘young’. But I’m glad to have received this award because it confirms the value of all the hard work that went into the restaurant. I don’t know, but I’m happy that I get to do what I love, and I’m happy to see such success for everything I’ve done.
“My goal is to make people happy every day. I want customers to be happy and satisfied, because they are why we do what we do as chefs.”
“For me, the essential thing to becoming a great chef is to practise. Practising is key to bringing out the best in us. It helps us understand what we did wrong and figure out how to do it right. That way, we can get better every day. I was, and am, lucky to work with chefs willing to teach and guide me and to let me learn from my mistakes, allowing me to improve all the time. So, to answer the question what makes a great chef, it is being taught, learning, and practising to be better every day.
“After that, my goal is to make people happy every day. I want customers to be happy and satisfied, because they are why we do what we do as chefs. This includes building a well-balanced team as I believe it creates a kitchen that promotes innovation. I want a working atmosphere where everyone can share and exchange ideas, so we all can learn from each other. Only when we are happy at work can we bring happiness to our customers as we improve ourselves as well.”
As for words of advice that Chef Garavaglia wanted to share with young chefs who are striving for success like him, he emphasised a simple, yet powerful, truth.
“Work hard and do your best every day.”
Blancpain is the world’s oldest Swiss luxury watch brand and the proud sponsor of the MICHELIN Young Chef Award, fostering its connections with the world of haute cuisine and award-winning chefs for over 30 years.
“Innovation” has always been Blancpain’s watchword, emphasising the brand’s core values for precision, passion, authenticity, and creativity. These values epitomise watchmakers and chefs as they strive to be extraordinary and test their boundaries with inventiveness in order to achieve excellence. Both seek to create masterpieces as they innovate for success.
Not only is Blancpain an official timekeeper for renowned culinary competitions, but it also counts chefs, past and present, from hundreds of MICHELIN Starred restaurants as friends and boon companions.
For a long time, Blancpain and MICHELIN Guide’s global partnership has promoted the pursuit of excellence, passion, and expertise, which applies to the MICHELIN Young Chef Award Presented by Blancpain. The award goes to the most outstanding candidate out of a group of the most promising chefs who are under 36 years of age and have proven themselves as exceptionally talented and creative innovators, creating dining experiences.
The MICHELIN Young Chef Award Presented by Blancpain is this historic watch brand recognising audacious young chefs seeking to add their creative flair to haute cuisine. The brand bestows prestige on the award, promoting Thailand’s place in the culinary world while encouraging young chefs to pursue excellence on the local and international stage by expanding the limits of their creativity and innovativeness.
Illustration image and other images: © MICHELIN Guide Thailand, Blancpain