Three young chefs took back trophies in their backpacks and 50 others went back to their countries with experiences, learning and lifelong friendships at the end of a weeklong culinary competition.
The 9th International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO 2023), where culinary students from 53 countries competed with and learnt from each other, came to a close in the city on Saturday evening.
“Organised by sheer determination, the Young Chef Olympiad is not about winning or losing,” said Suborno Bose, chief mentor of IIHM and chairman of the Young Chef Olympiad.
“The experiences and the exposure that the young chefs got in this platform would help them in their life whether it is to get a job, learning diversity or new cultures and forming friendships,” said Bose.
The participants were students of hospitality and culinary in colleges or universities across the country.
“When they go back with what they have learnt here it will rub on to others in their country as well,” said Bose.
The event could be held in person after two years when it was held only virtually. The hospitality industry had been impacted during the pandemic and it has bounced back.
Bose said that the culinary olympiad is a “sunrise” event.
The Young Chef Olympiad 2023 is a joint initiative of the International Hospitality Council, UK, and the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM).
On Saturday, the winners of YCO 2023 were announced at the closing ceremony held at Wet-O- Wild, Nicco Park.
Emil Zeynalzade of Azerbaijan won the gold trophy and a cash prize of US $ 5000.
Patiphon Lertsurakitti of Thailand won silver and a cash prize of US $ 3000. Naureen Shaikh from India won bronze and a cash prize of US $ 2000.
A day before, on Friday, the top 10 finalists had been selected in the grand finale held on the IIHM Global Campus in Salt Lake.
The top 10 finalists were England, France, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, the US besides the three winning countries.
A high point of the closing ceremony was the presence of celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor.
“My message to young chefs is to collaborate, learn, compete and win,” he told The Telegraph.
“A chef should remember that it is important to learn to give and a better chef is one who is compassionate. Not competition alone but compassion brings out the best in people,” said Kapoor.