Young Chef Olympiad 2017 – A Culinary Extravaganza

          After a marvellous curtain raiser held in Bengaluru on the 17th of January (Click here for the details), it was time for the International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) 2017 to get down to business. With participants from 50 countries arriving in India to compete, this internationally acclaimed event had a grand opening in Delhi on 28th January at the Talkatora Stadium followed by the first round.

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For the 2nd round it was time for Bengaluru to welcome participants from 24 countries on 30th January at the prestigious IIHM facility while Pune welcomes participants from the rest of the countries for its share of 2nd round on the 31st of January. The event in Bengaluru was inaugurated by Shri. Naveen Raj Singh, IAS, Secretary to Government, Tourism Department.

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Adding glitter to the event was the arrival of Master Logan Guleff, the 14-year old winner of Masterchef Junior in 2014, who is also the Celebrity Mascot of YCO 2017.

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The theme for round two was “Creativity and Innovation”.  The contestants were given 90 minutes to prepare four Main Course portions of a Vegetarian dish produced from a basket of ingredients, along with a mystery ingredient shared with them 24 hours earlier. The chosen recipe could reflect the contestant’s cuisine and culture and had to be appropriate for service in a brasserie or bistro restaurant.

The Judging Panel in Bengaluru featured; Chef Michele Prevedello, Chef Boris Leung Yee Chung, and Chef Andy Verma as Technical Judges, and Chef Shaun Kenworthy, Culinary Director,  IIHM. Other noted executive chefs like Chef Vikas Seth (Culinary Director-Embassy Group), Chef Alok Anand (Taj Bangalore), Suresh Hinduja- Founder and CEO- Gourmet India, Chef Selvaraju (Taj Vivanta), Chef Yogen Dutta (ITC Gardenia) and Chef Anirudh Khanna (Shangri-La) were also judges at the event.

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There was a lot of excitement with the contestants determined to give their best and prepare a dish that showcases their talent and creativity to the maximum extent possible.

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The Judges, Jury, Mentors, IIHM faculty members, students and members of Press, Bloggers also participated in an interaction that brought out some great insights of the culinary industry and trends

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Here is a glimpse of the dishes that the participants prepared for the 2nd round.

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The next stop for the competition to continue was to head to Kolkata for Round 3 which was held on February 1st. The 3rd round focussed on a theme of following a traditional recipe which involved preparing a classical pudding dish as well as preparing a dessert from a basket of specified ingredients and which is appropriate for service in a fine dining restaurant.

After some intense and passionate cooking across 3 rounds spanning different cities, the top 10 participants with the highest aggregated scores that went through to the finals were  announced by Prof. David Foskett. The 10 amazing young chefs that went through to the finale round were as below with Puja Mishra from IIHM Kolkata making it from India as well – a moment of pride indeed. 

  • Australia  – Boxhill Institute – Emma Cook                     
  • Canada  –  Naigara College – Selah Sehmoll                   
  • England  –  University College Birmingham –  Jack Gameson                  
  •  India –  IIHM, Kolkata – Puja Mishra                 
  • Malaysia –  Taylors University Lakeside Campus  – Andrew Ou Kai Peng                 
  • Mexico  –    Centro De Estudios Superiores De San Angel (CESSA) – Ximena Zamudio Yarto                
  • Myanmar – Center for Vocational Training – Naw Su Si Thin                   
  •  Phillipines –  DLS – CSB – Jjasmin Castillo Buensalida                 
  • Singapore –   Sunrice Global Chef Academy – Tham Jiajun Mathew                
  • Sri Lanka – Colombo Academy of Hospitality Management – Alrin Christopher De Alwis Shu

 The final round held in Kolkata on the 2nd of February was a 2 hour cook off with each participant required to prepare 4 portions of 4 individual Tapas dishes as a selection of Appetizers and 4 portions of fish dish as a Main course. The finale was followed by the closing ceremony which was equally extravagant wherein the winner was announced.

And the winner is …….

The winner along with the Gold Trophy also takes home a prize money of $10,000 !!

With that its curtains down for this year’s Olympiad. Kudos to the IIHM for the concept and execution of such a large scale international event and to all the participants who brought out their best.It was one big international celebration which bought in an amalgamation of culture, talent and some great food !

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