Emerging chefs from across 50 countries are ready with their whisks and ladles to take part in the eighth edition of the International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO). The culinary battle was thrown open by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) on January 30.
The competition will be held via video conference from January 31 to February 5. This year’s theme is ‘Global Goals’, in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Young Chef Olympiad offers students of hospitality a platform where they can put to practice what they learn in classrooms. It also inspires them to move forward in their profession as they learn from cross-cultural connections.
The participants will be monitored by over 170 cameras spread across the world and be evaluated by Indian and international hospitality stalwarts, including Andreas Muller, programme director (Western Cuisine Operations and Training) at the International Culinary Institute (ICI) of the Vocational Training Council (VTC), Hong Kong; Sanjay Kak, culinary director, IIHM (India); Gary Maclean, executive chef, City of Glasgow College, Scotland; Stuart Littlejohn, former executive chef, Oxford and Cambridge Club, London; Garth Stroebel, South African chef, co-proprietor of the South African Chefs Academy, South Africa; Abhijit Saha, founding director and chef, Avant Garde Hospitality Pvt Ltd, India; Stefan Hogan, executive chef, Corinthia Palace Hotel, Malta; Brian Turner CBE, Michelin star chef and celebrity chef trainer, London; and Sharad Dewan, regional director, food production, The Park Kolkata and Flurys.
International mentor-participant duos
Each participant will be mentored by professionals from their institutes. Some of the mentor-participant duos include Arbi Gharakhani and Gayane Simoyan from Centre D’Enseignement Professionnel Franco-Armenien, Armenia; Jahida Begum and Nadia Islam Kazi from National Hotel and Tourism Training Institute, Bangladesh; Fintan Flynn and Mya Hilts from Canadore College, Canada; Christopher Basten and Joe Slater from Westminster Kingsway College, England; Anagnostopoulos Viktor-Georgios and Kelidis Alexandros from LE MONDE Institute of Hotel and Tourism Studies, Greece; Clement Dcruze and Sourav Valentine Gomes from IIHM, India; Horace Ayub Odour and Chris Burton from Boma International Hospitality College, Kenya; Aldo Omar Morales and Nicole Elliot from Gastronomy School of Anahuac University, Mexico; Surya Mahat and Ajay Pun from Academy of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Nepal; and Efimov Anatoly Dmitrievich and Petrov Daniil from Russian International Academy for Tourism, Russia.
Groomed by their mentors, the students will fight for the Best Young Chef title that carries a cash prize of 5,000 US dollars and a digital certificate.
The trophy for 2022 was unveiled at the inauguration ceremony by Suborno Bose, chairman and chief mentor, IIHM, and chairman, Young Chef Olympiad, along with the IIHM team. Participants who rank from 11 to 20 will compete for the Plate Trophy. This year’s Young Chef Olympiad will also see the International Diamond Research Award, which will extend research opportunities to culinary students and teachers in the field of global hospitality and tourism. Colleges and universities have been asked to submit a research paper of not more than 5000 words on the theme of YCO 2022, The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Judges from across the world will join YCO 2022 virtually. Source: YouTube
The theme for YCO 2022 is based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which is much more important now than ever. I think the global goals of the UN are inspirational for all of us. So, we decided to make the Global Goals, the theme. Apart from culinary skills and cooking, this year we have included culinary research based on the 17 sustainable development goals as part of the YCO.
—Suborno Bose, founder and chief mentor of the Indismart Group
As a global community, we share the language of tourism and sustainable development goals. That is something which connects the world. Gastronomy has become an incredible part of culture. We as a community must continue to use gastronomy to celebrate who we are as people and how we are bound around the world.
— Anita Mendiratta, special adviser to the secretary general of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
This event throws light on the industry and shows that irrespective of the constraints we are facing, it is possible to create magic and make the world a better place. It’s something for the industry to learn that the fact that this edition is happening is because of perseverance and technology. This is one thing we judges look forward to every year.
— Ranveer Brar, YCO brand ambassador and also a judge this year
The world of hospitality has changed. Governments are now beginning to see that this industry has a lot to offer. I’m sure in the years to come people will rise in testing times and everyone will see what the hospitality industry has contributed. This industry will continue to excel.
— Sanjeev Kapoor, renowned chef and principal judge of YCO
This competition is about unifying the youth of the world in the hospitality and culinary arts. Food brings us all together. YCO has shown us that we can conquer the unpredictable and we can live with it. It’s a celebration of the youth and the next generation that will change the world for the better. What makes YCO special is that it is a professional chef competition that takes on the issues of the world. The young chefs who are competing are ambassadors of their country and they should congratulate themselves.
— David Foskett MBE, chairperson of the jury