S. Pellegrino crowned the Canadian finalist for its inaugural Young Chef competition at an event in Toronto on Feb. 9. Paul Moran from B.C.’s CMH-K2 Lodge was one of 10 semi-finalists vying for the chance to represent Canada at the global competition in Milan in June. Moran will compete against chefs from 19 countries, with the winner being named the world’s best chef under 30. For the Nestlé-owned sparkling mineral water brand, the Young Chef competition provided a big opportunity to create branded content. S. Pellegrino partnered with Anomaly Toronto, which is creating a roundtable video series featuring the Canadian judges, Susur Lee, Cory Vitello and Matty Matheson, as well as other industry influencers. The first one was filmed on Feb. 9, the second will be filmed at the Terroir food festival in Prince Edward Country, Ont. in May, and a third will be filmed at the P.E.I. Fall Flavours Festival in September. Each video will be released two months after filming and distributed online. While the chef competition allows S. Pellegrino to reach culinary professionals, the videos are designed to touch consumers and show them what the brand is doing within the trade. “The content series is about bringing together some of the lead voices in Canada’s culinary community and giving them a forum to talk about what’s happening in the food space,” said Franke Rodriguez, partner and CEO at Anomaly Toronto. “There’s not enough recognition for the restaurateurs and the food scene and the young chefs coming out of Canada.” Rather than doing paid advertising, “it’s mostly about utility, providing interesting content and connecting with consumers who love food,” he added. Rodriguez said the global competition in Milan will also provide some content opportunities. “I think people will want to know how is doing over there, so we definitely hope to capture some of that and bring that story back,” he said. On the PR front, the main strategy was to “take a global program and make it really relevant for Canada and Canadians,” said Shelley Pringle, principal ofPolaris Marketing and PR, public relations agency of record for S. Pellegrino. Leading up to the Canadian finals, the agency focused on getting media coverage for the 10 semi-finalists. “They’re so charming, they’re so incredibly passionate about being a chef and they’re total naturals for media interviews,” said Pringle. As the event in Milan approaches, Polaris will do media outreach for the Canadian finalist. S. Pellegrino has a long history of connecting with top chefs and has hosted a Cooking Cup in Venice for the past 14 years. Last year was the first time a Canadian chef competed in the competition. “S. Pellegrino is really involved in these types of competitions to show our commitment to the culinary world,” said Jennifer Semley Robert, marketing manager, international brands at Nestlé Waters Canada. “It’s something that’s been embedded in the brand since its existence.” This article first appeared in Marketing Magazine.