In 2019, just as for past editions, Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión journeyed around Spain in search of young talent which, sponsored by BALFEGÓ, will vie for the 2020 Upcoming Chef Award. A clutch of cooks with a bright future from which next year’s winner will emerge and join the list of – now-famous – winners from previous editions. The choice was difficult due to the quality of this new generation that show – on a daily basis – their passion for cooking and their wide range of skills. The winner, after the secret voting process by journalists and aficionados, will be announced this coming 15 January 2020 in the auditorium of this congress.

December 3, 2019

Xune Andrade (31)
MONTE (San Feliz, Asturias)
Despite his young age, he has over 10 years of experience working in restaurants as famous as Casa Gerardo (Asturias), Quique Dacosta and El Celler de Can Roca, in addition to restaurants in Madrid, such as Ronin 47 and SQD. He inaugurated Monte, a very personal project, less than six months ago in the village his grandparents are from. His training, technique and elegance are used hand in hand with local produce that he chooses in an almost obsessive way. An excellent professional who has modernised the idea of what it is like to dine in a village. Creativity and rural haute cuisine based on traditional Asturian flavours.

Sergi Palacín (28)
THE ALCHEMIX (Barcelona)
Sergi Palacín (28), together with his partner, the mixologist and pastry chef, Ignacio Ussía, has set up a successful business in Barcelona. A gastro-cocktail bar where an attractive combination of food and drink are offered. His cooking – serious, thoughtful, cosmopolitan and contemporary, not to mention somewhat bold – fuses the Mediterranean and the Far East, reflecting the technical wealth Palacín garnered at El Bulli, and also during his years in Bangkok at the R&D department of the restaurant Gaggan, the most eminent in Asia. A professional on the up and up.

Camila Ferraro (32)
In just over a year, Camila Ferraro, a young cook from Seville, and Robert Tetas, a sommelier from Girona, have successfully set up their restaurant in Seville. These two professionals, who trained at El Celler de Can Roca, are more experienced than you would guess from their ages. Their menu features contemporary, seasonal dishes inspired by the traditional recipes of Seville, as well as by local bars, and by the legacy of this city that they know intimately. Recipes that Camila reinterprets with a creative spark, restraint and modern techniques, and which Robert – a disciple of Pitu Roca – elevates with wines he suggests for each dish.

Víctor Cuevas (29)
AMADÍA (Madrid)
In barely six months, Víctor Cuevas and his young team have swiftly burst onto the scene in a suburb of Madrid. The dishes Cuevas creates show a very serious, technical style that embraces various elements: French academicism, which he imbued during his stint at the restaurant Caelis in Barcelona where he worked with the chef Romain Fornell; and the creative freedom inspired by another of his culinary masters, Paco Pérez, at the restaurant The Mirror. Dishes with a huge emphasis on harmony, balance and seasonal produce that he sources from a wide range of suppliers.

Vicky Sevilla (26)
ARRELS (Sagunt, Valencia)
Vicky Sevilla, who has just turned 26, is at the helm of her successful restaurant, Arrels. She trained together with Vicente Patiño (Saití), among others, before opening her own place.
All of her dishes are imbued with a dose of boldness, talent and bravery; traits that she applies when it comes to interpreting the flavours and traditions of her surroundings. Recipes that blend technique and an academic feel for classic cuisine, yet offered with a contemporary twist. A constantly evolving cook who has as much personality as she does talent. As well as being promising, she is a true surprise.

Alejandro Serrano (22)
ALEJANDRO SERRANO (Miranda de Ebro, Burgos)
He has worked with David Muñoz at Diverxo, with Mario Sandoval at Coque, and with Eneko Atxa at Azurmendi, among others, during his short but packed career. In 2019, just after turning 22, he won first prize at the La Gamba Roja de Denia creative cooking competition, as well as the Balfegó Competition where he beat well-known cooks. His CV brims with awards and recognitions: best academic record from the Federación Española de Hostelería; and best dissertation from the Escuela Superior de Hostelería in Bilbao. His cuisine is modern, fresh, light and intensely personal. There is no need to say more.

Juan Manuel Salgado (30)
DROMO (Badajoz)
Last February, Juan Manuel Salgado opened Dromo, a markedly modern restaurant. A small, intimate space in Badajoz with the aim of turning his menus into veritable gastronomic experiences. Salgado has worked with the Torres brothers, with Quique Dacosta, Martín Berasategui and with Dani García, not to mention representing Spain at the past two editions of the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon. His cuisine is colourful and light, filled with passion, and brims with fun and boldness. Modern, casual haute cuisine as he likes to describe his work, which takes a good square look at the produce of Extremadura with which he achieves surprising results.

Samuel Naveira and Génesis Cardona
MU-NA (Ponferrada, León)
After years travelling and working in famous restaurants, these young cooks – Samuel Naveira and Génesis Cardona – opened this eatery in the heart of El Bierzo. A place made-to-measure for them; tranquil, with a welcoming decor, creative seasonal cuisine and a menu that changes monthly. Their signature dishes highlight the produce and recipes of Léon, including a condensed version of the one-pot stew cocido maragato, dried beef cecina croquettes, regional escabeches, and beans from La Bañeza. Samuel is a go-getting cook, a culinary cork about to burst forth in his hometown. From his hands emerge modern, elegant dishes that skilfully give traditional recipes a contemporary twist.