Amsterdam will host the 5th THE BEST CHEF AWARDS powered by PERLAGE on September 13, 14 and 15th 2021.

The three-day long culinary celebration will include FOOD MEETS SCIENCE, AREA TALKS and a few new activities, ending with the grand AWARDS GALA, as they continue to honor the many talented chefs that create the best food experiences around the world.

This year the announcement of the new 100 candidates from 35 different countries who will compete for the title of THE BEST CHEF together with the chefs of the TOP100 2020 will be full of suspense. Starting from February 25th and for 100 days, THE BEST CHEF will announce one candidate per day (in random order) through its social channels.

The first 10 nominees have been announced. Here they are.



With an innovative avant-garde cuisine, where creativity and flavours are mixed together perfectly, Terry Giacomello offers in his dishes a trip through texture and tastes from all over the world, trying to excite curiosity and stimulate the palates of his guests.

His passion for the kitchen was born when he was more or less 13 years old, when he started to help his mother Wanda in her simple but, good trattoria. There he learned the secrets of a delicious handmade pasta and a polenta made with corn just milled, but he learned also how to work with bushmeat.

Then he moved to the kitchen school in Longarone where he finished his studie, and after in to the real temples of gastronomy; a couple of years in France with Marc Veyrat and Michel Bras, four years in Spain at elBulli with Ferran Adrià, in Brazil with Alex Atala and in then at Mugaritz with Andoni Luis Aduriz. In Italy Terry Giacomello has worked with Sergio Mei in Milan.

From the great masters he learned discipline, humility, proficiency but also the art of working with raw materials, respecting them while looking for a maniacal perfection.

Terry Giacomello, Parma, Italy
Ristorante Inkiostro,



Arnaud Lallement always wanted to be a chef. From the earliest age, he would watch his father, Jean-Pierre, at the stoves in the kitchens of the family restaurant in Châlons-sur-Vesle. He it was who handed down to the young Arnaud all his passion and skill and who would guide his career.

At 18, with a Diploma from the Strasbourg Hotel & Catering College in his pocket, Arnaud went off to learn his trade alongside the great names in French cuisine, like Roger Vergé, Chef of the legendary Moulin de Mougins, Michel Guérard, one of the longest-standing 3-star chefs in France, or Alain Chapel and his famous establishment in Mionnay.

Arnaud Lallement is such a demanding cook that every dish is carefully thought and repeated, so his kitchen teams knows exactly what he wants. Over the years, his focus on the essential, purifying ingredients, finds the winning combination with an incredible hidden technique.

His method concentrates on the essential: the taste. “Mangez vrai!” is his favourite motto. Every flavour is marked with two major constants on which Arnaud Lallement doesn’t compromise; work with the most beautiful product and adequate acidity to give the desire to repeat the experience.

Arnaud Lallement, Tinqueux, France
Restaurant L’Assiette Champenoise,



Helena Rizzo, who hails from Porto Alegre, was born in 1978 as the daughter of Ivone, an artist, and Roberto, an engineer. She dabbled in architecture during a brief stint at university. At 18, she decided to leave the family home and move to São Paulo.

While working at jobs like modeling, she was a waitress for the caterer Neka Menna Barreto and intern in the kitchen for the restaurants Roanne, by Emmanuel Bassoleil, and Gero, by GrupoFasano. After being invited to head the kitchen at Na Mata Café, it began to dawn on her that perhaps gastronomy was her field. At 21, she saved up some money, packed up the notebook she used for drawing and recording her dreams, and set off for Europe. She worked as an internat the restaurants La Torre and Sadler, in Italy.

One day she went out for dinner with friends at the famous El Celler de Can Roca in Girona and everything began to make sense. At that moment she grasped that food could be a form of artistic expression and not just rote, monotonous work, as had been her experience up to that point. After a lot of convincing she got a “yes” from Joan Roca.

In the kitchen at Celler she tamed her anxiety. Helena spent four months at the restaurant in Girona and a year at Moo, a restaurant owned by the Roca-family in Barcelona. It was at El Celler she met Daniel Redondo, chef de cuisine at the time. She fell in love.

After returning to São Paulo she received an offer from friends to open a restaurant. She invited Daniel to move to Brazil and share the kitchen with her. In 2006, Maní was born. At the restaurant they create contemporary cuisine deeply rooted in ingredients symbolic of Brazilian cooking. Thier creations, at time extravagant, at times straight forward, reflect memories and love. Helena still draws in her notebook and, once in while, on Maní’s walls.

Helena Rizzo, São Paulo, Brazil



Growing up in Norfolk Tom Aikens had a large back garden where his mother grew all our own fruit and vegetables. So, from an early age, he came to understand the importance of the weather and changing seasons in growing food.

They grew lots of soft fruits such as strawberries, gooseberries and blackberries which were mainly turned into jams. But ost of the time his brother and Tom secretly picked them and ate them before their mother noticed. These were treasured times, on which he looks back on fondly.

“Meal times were spent to-ing and fro-ing from the garden, where we loved to dig for fresh vegetables, which were then taken back to the kitchen to be prepared for a family meal. Seeing things grow and come to life was so much fun for us. Seeing how much we enjoyed the garden, my mother let me and Robert have a small patch of the vegetable plot to try our hand at growing weird and wonderful vegetables.

Of course, we tried everything; from different coloured carrots and large squashes to yellow courgette. Few things tasted better to me than eating a new crop of baby potatoes with a little fresh mint all from our own garden. Understanding these simple tastes and experiencing those wonderful delicacies was the start of my own steps into the kitchen.”

Tom Aikens, London, England
Muse by Tom Aikens,



Chef Ebbe Vollmer began his career with the goal of apprenticing to the best chefs in the best restaurants. Ebbe’s professional life began at Grandma’s hostelry but soon took a more international turn, in which a number of famous restaurants and celebrity chefs were to play a vital role. A sojourns at Marco Pierre White’s Harvey’s and Gordon Ramsey’s three Michelin starred Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, both in London.

These chefs and their kitchens left a powerful impression on him.

It is undoubtedly Gordon Ramsey who has influenced him the most, both the leadership and culinary level. Ebbe has also learned the trade alongside Gordon back in the 1990s when the Sweden at the age of 16 left for London to work at Harvey’s Wandsworth Commons – an iconic restaurant then part of London’s emerging scene.

He converged once more with his brother in Malmö in the summer of 2011, turning their dream of a jointly owned restaurant into a reality.

Taking the experiences, feelings and flavours of Grandma’s hostelry as their role model, but with a modern touch and slightly more refined cooking methods. He is a passionate leader and facilitator always try his best to encourage cross over among the different culinary cultures from west to east and from east to west by forming different types of chef dinners & exchange around the globe.

Ebbe Vollmer, Malmö, Sweden
Restaurant Vollmer,



From an early age, chef Edgar Núñez developed a taste for vegetables by inheritance from his mother. Since then, that culinary inclination has become a guiding principle of his gastronomic proposal, which he calls Mexican vegetable cuisine. At the same time, he is a chef who seeks to explore the infinite possibilities offered by a good product, from the one he gets in the garden of his restaurant and the Xochimilco’s chinampas to the fish and shellfish from other Mexican regions.

He is a member of a generation of Mexican chefs who seek to position the modern Mexican gastronomy worldwide, seeking as a basis the root of tradition and modernity itself, with a philosophy of knowledge, study of the recipes and techniques, having as principle the discipline and the transmission.

The chef is a member of ACADEMIE CULINAIRE DE FRANCE and the Mexican Kitchen Collective AC.

Edgar Núñez, Mexico City, Mexico
Restaurant SUD777,



Jonathan Zandenberg has been working as an executive chef for Restaurant Merlet since 2015. His cooking method is based on tradition and innovation. Fine products, special flavours from around the world, an innovative French kitchen.

“I create tasteful dishes with local ingredients. I’m always in search of the best products in the surrounding area, with respect for the animals and all the other things nature gives. Vegetables are very important since they bring agreeable flavours and because they are easily digestible.”

“The story of a product matters. The idea of slow food is an idea that suits me. Take for instance the superb fresh bass of fisherman Jack or the tasty vegetables of Jeroen of the farm Noorderhoeve. The passion and dedication of the producers and the way they treat their products is what counts above all. As chef I pursue this passion and dedication in the kitchen of Merlet.”

Jonathan Zandbergen, Duinweg, The Netherlands
Restaurant Merlet,



Growing up in the Basque region of Spain, Diego Guerrero searched for ways to express his creativity. He dreamed of becoming a journalist, then an artist, then finally, a chef. Although his parents urged him not to pursue gastronomy, his culinary dreams remained.

Before graduating with honors from the Escuela de Zabalburu in Bilbao, Guerrero staged at renowned Spanish restaurants Martín Berasategui, Goizeko Kabi, and elBulli. At 23, Guerrero became the head chef of Restaurante El Refor in Araba.

In 2003, Guerrero became the head chef of fine dining destination El Club Allard in Madrid. Under his supervision, the restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star in 2007 and its second in 2011. Guerrero left the restaurant in 2013 to begin working on his own project, DSTAgE, which opened in 2014.

Using his vision of democratising haute cuisine, Guerrero crafted an environment that is open and unfussy, with a shared kitchen and dining room. He also became a pioneer in employee well-being, deciding to close his restaurant on the weekends so his staff can enjoy a less stressful life.

Diego Guerrero, Madrid, Spain



“The palate of our guests is evolving and customers are becoming more discerning when it comes to taste and appetite. Dining has really become more of an outlet for relaxation and experience instead of just getting fed.”

“Chefs are also getting more involved in the menu creation, bringing forth new and seasonal ideas. For example, when I’m on holiday, I’m still very much “working” as I’m constantly on the lookout for inspiration. Nowadays, Chinese chefs are getting more creative and using new ingredients while still keeping the heritage and history of Chinese cuisine intact.”

Kelvin Au Yeung, Macau, China
Jade Dragon,



Head Chef Brian Mark Hansen has his own unique style and is considered one of Denmark’s most prominent culinary artists. He has previously worked at Ruths Hotel in Skagen and Kong Hans Kælder in Copenhagen, and he was a sous chef at Søllerød Kro from 2007 to 2011.

He then moved on to a head chef position at Christiansholm in Klampenborg before returning to Søllerød Kro in 2013.

Brian Mark Hansen, Søllerød, Denmark
Søllerød Kro,


On June 6thTHE BEST CHEF begins the voting process, where all the chefs included on last years’ list (plus an anonymous group of independent professionals) and the new 100 candidates will be invited to vote for their peers to name 2021’s TOP100 AWARDS.

In case of interest or/and press on The Best Chef Awards,
please contact Kristian Brask Thomsen at:

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Hungry for more? Read this in-depth US-article on The Best Chef.