Pasta, Pizza & Rice

Barilla Master of Pasta crowned in Paris

Japanese chef Keita Yuge won the 2019 Pasta World Championship award thanks to his Penne with Gorgonzola and Japanese perfume

Keita Yuge is the new 2019 Pasta World Champion. His victory came last Friday evening in Paris as the final act of the Barilla Pasta World Championship. The show saw 14 world cuisine promises compete in front of an audience of over 350 international guests including jurors, foodies, media and industry professionals.

I am proud to be the new ‘Barilla Master of Pasta’, my desire is to pass on to the new generations all the knowledge and techniques that I have learned in recent years,” said Keita Yuge receiving the award, an original bronze sculpture inspired by the drawing of pasta.


Keita Yuge’s dish, “Penne al gorgonzola al profumo giapponese” (Penne with Gorgonzola and Japanese Flavour), is a concrete example of how pasta can be a versatile food at any latitude, capable of being perfectly adapted to the rich oriental food culture. In chef Yuge’s recipe, the oriental component is given by a sauce characterized by Japanese “Sake, Sansho, Yuzu” plus oyster aroma and the addition of Sake to gorgonzola sauce.

According to chef Yuge, “Sake is the most current image of Japan at the table. Among its raw materials, Koji is perhaps the most important ingredient of Japanese food culture, as without Koji we cannot make sake, miso, soy sauce, mirin. Koji is therefore the symbol of Japanese cuisine, just as pasta is the symbol of Italian cuisine. That’s why I decided to use it in my dish for the Pasta World Championship and create the ‘Penne with Gorgonzola’ of the future.”


Fourteen under-35 chefs representing 14 countries took part in a competition that, in its eighth edition, was held for the first time abroad. The choice of Paris as the venue for the Pasta World Championship is linked not only to the fact that the French capital, with its wealth of culture, art and gastronomy, best embodies the theme of this year – “The Art of Pasta” – but also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Barilla in France.


In the qualifying round The Masterpiece was held, a test in which the 14 competitors challenged each other to create a dish that would be an expression of technique and creativity applied to the concept of “Beautiful, Good, Healthy”, the three cornerstones that substantiate pasta: wonderful to the eye, delicious in taste, satisfying for the soul.

In the semifinals, the 8 qualified chefs created “The White Canvas”, a test in which they had to embrace a new gastronomic perspective, creating a recipe that combines creativity and well-being. Finally, the “Grand Finale” in which the three finalists proposed again, improving it, the dish brought into competition in their first challenge.


Among the participating countries there were Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Basically, there was the whole world, so as to show that pasta is a global passion. To judge them, Barilla has brought together the best representatives from the worlds of food and lifestyle. Three great chefs such as the Italians Davide Oldani and Simone Zanoni, and the French Amandine Chaignot, judged the technical and creative tastes. The photographer and content creator Ashley Alexander together with architect and designer Paola Navone evaluated aesthetics and mise-en-place.

In addition to the competition, among the highlights of the Pasta World Championship 2019 there were the “Food, art and aesthetics” talk and live cooking by chef Amandine Chaignot, during which she brought out the best of the new Lasagnette Barilla of the gourmet “Collection” line, specifically designed for the foreign markets. The competition ended with a pasta party in the evocative setting of the Pavillon Cambon, set up for the occasion as an art gallery.


For Barilla, pasta is an art that involves the five senses, taking on different shapes each time. Pasta is form, colour, aroma, taste… . Moreover, at the Pasta World Championship it was also possible to discover its sound, thanks to the surprising live music performance “The Sound of Pasta” performed by the Food Ensemble orchestra together with chef Davide Oldani. The piece of music and cuisine accompanied the creation of the famous “Puttanesca with horseradish”, already the protagonist of the Barilla commercial “Masters of Pasta – The Party” with Roger Federer.

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