The Unexpected Pesto Champ

Do you know who won the Pesto World Championship in Genoa this year? I’ll go ahead and tell you, because you’d never guess. Out of a field of more than 100 chefs, the majority of whom hail from Liguria, birthplace of pesto, the championship was won by a 25-year-old Korean American kid. Someone’s gotta be rolling in his grave (basil field?) over that one.

A post on the 7×7 magazine website contains more details about Danny Bowien, the young chef at San Francisco’s Farina, who won the competition—and his mentor, Executive Chef Paolo Laboa, who taught Bowien how to make pesto according to his own mother’s (and grandmother’s, and great-grandmother’s) recipe. This is real pesto: mortar and pestle only, no food processors allowed.

Speaking of locals in Italia, what’s up with Bay Area chefs winning Italian cooking competitions? The International Championship of Pizza Makers City of Naples Trophy was won last year by Castro Valley pizza maker Tony Gemignani.

See more articles
Share this article: