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2023 Mesa Award: Revealing the Best Young Chef in Sardinian Cuisine

La Redazione
copertina premio mesa 2023

Alessandro Impera is the winner of the fourth edition of the "Mesa Award," a regional competition dedicated to emerging young chefs promoted by Cantina Mesa.

The award 

At just 23 years old, Alessandro Impera won the fourth edition of the Mesa Award. "Lamb, artichokes, fennel" - a dish that recalls Sardinian tradition with lamb, a festive staple - presented in combination with "Opale" Vermentino di Sardegna DOC 2022 from Cantina Mesa: this was the winning formula to secure the top spot on the Mesa Award podium, a contest launched by Cantina Mesa to reward the growth of Sardinian cuisine through its protagonists, the chefs.

Agnello carciofi finocchietto Vermentino Opale
“Lamb, artichoke, fsea fennel

The three finalists - selected from numerous applications from young chefs active on the island since the summer of 2018 - competed on Wednesday, November 29, at the international hub of gastronomy at Identità Golose in Milan.

La location della finale

The goal of the talents: to convince an exceptional jury led by Gavino Sanna - the most famous and awarded Italian advertising executive, founder of Cantina Mesa - alongside Paolo Marchi, creator and curator of Identità Golose; Maddalena Fossati, director of La Cucina Italiana and Traveller; Pietro Pitzalis, founder and director of Reporter Gourmet; Giovanni Fancello, Sardinian journalist, gastronome, and writer; Sergio Mei, executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan for two decades and now recognized as one of the leading figures in Italian cuisine; Alberto Piras, sommelier of Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Milan. Gavino Sanna provided the closing comment for the final.

Making of piatto vincitore

«At the end of this day, I feel great because finally, in the fourth edition of the Mesa Award, it represents for Sardinia what I have always dreamed of: reaching the young - as many as possible - full of enthusiasm, class, and talent. This is to discover and see with new eyes all the beauty that my island has. I don't want to sell just wine; I want to sell Sardinia. The Sardinia of my heart, where everyone has a dream and where we all wait for someone to discover it, take it by the hand, caress it, make it live: this is the Sardinia that the Mesa Award represents.».

Pecora e Filindeu Rosa Grande
Filindeu and sheep- Rosa Grande
Mare grano e lumache Rosa Grande
Mare, grano  lumache- Rosa Grande

Alessandro Impera follows Davide Atzeni, Andrea Serusi, and Gavino Piu - winners of the three previous editions - in the Mesa Award's hall of fame. What comes next for the newly triumphant young talent is to enjoy the prize offered by Cantina Mesa: the Master in advanced training at the Niko Romito Academy, dedicated to restaurant baking, with the aim of increasing the skillset to give back to the community. Fabio Bucciarelli, Director of the Academy, comments, "Thanks to Gavino Sanna and Cantina Mesa for renewing the award. We look forward to hosting Alessandro in Castel di Sangro for an exciting experience, as it has been for the three previous winners." Meanwhile, Cantina Mesa is already preparing for the announcement of the fifth edition of the Mesa Award, scheduled for 2024.

Alessandro Impera e Gavino Sanna

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