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IIHM hosts conference to announce sixth edition of Young Chef Olympiad
Friday, 24 January, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau,Mumbai
A conference was hosted by the International Institute of Hotel Managment (IIHM), the institutional partner of the International Hospitality Council (IHC), in Mumbai on Thursday to announce the commencement of the sixth edition of the International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO). The panellists included Dr Suborno Bose, chief executive officer, IIHM, and founder, YCO, and chefs Rahul Akerkar, founder and owner, Indigo, and Shaun Kenworthy, culinary director, IIHM.

YCO, the biggest culinary competition of the world, returns for another year with exciting and interesting challenges. This year’s competition, which is slated to take place between from January 28 to February 2, 2020, in five cities of India, viz., Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Goa and Kolkata.

Like every year, the upcoming essay promises to be bigger and better than its previous editions, with 60 countries participating in the competition this year. Besides the excitement of the culinary competition, it has embraced the special cause of sustainability as its theme this year, and an underlying message of unity and peace among nations through its all-embracing global character.

“YCO 2020 has embraced the theme of sustainability, and the world’s biggest culinary extravaganza aims to show the world how to make the world a better place for future generations,” said Dr Bose.

“YCO brings people together, and one of the biggest takeaways of YCO 2020 is that it will bring young people of the world on one platform. Sustainability is the theme for YCO 2020,” he added.

“At a global level, we are all looking towards this single most important thing that can really make us all suffer a lot in future if it is not taken care of from now itself. There will be a great educational factor in YCO from this year onwards,” said Dr Bose.

“It is not just about cooking, culinary presentations, but also about sustainability, and how you can introduce it in your institution in your country,” he added.

The five-day long intense competition will include three rounds of tough challenge that the Cheftestants will have to overcome in order to win the coveted winner’s title. The prizes will include a cash prize of $10,000, the winner’s trophy and a gold toque with which the winner will be crowned.

“The incredible thing about India is that I don’t think anything can bring 55 countries to India, other than food,” said Kenworthy.

India’s YCO 2020 participant is Varun Tej Reddy, a bright and talented young chef from the IIHM Hyderabad campus.

Speaking at the conference, Abdullah Ahmed, director, IIHM, New Delhi, informed that the importance of hosting the participants in different cities was to be able to help them explore India and Indian hospitality. It is about a competition, but it is also about celebrating brotherhood and to create unity. It unites people together on the basis of food.

“I am looking forward to this event. It is amazing to look at young chefs and their cooking skills and their passiona and their cooking methods. I love the fact that this year the theme is about sustainabilty, it is a very important topic. Every chef needs to be as thinking chef,” said Akerkar.

The Olympiad will commence with a grand opening ceremony on January 28, befitting the scale of the competition that will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

The culinary challenges will begin from January 29. The first two rounds will be held in Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Goa. The Top 10 cheftestants who will qualify after their performance at the first two rounds, will cook in the third round that will be held at the IIHM Global Campus in Kolkata on February 2.

The winners will be announced the same evening amidst a colorful evening of celebration at the closing ceremony of the competition.

It does not end here. Introduced last year, the cheftestants will also compete for the Plate Trophy, also scheduled for February 2.

The participants who will rank between 11 to 20 in the first two rounds will get to compete for the Plate Trophy. Apart from these, the participants will be competing for 25 other prizes in the competition like the Rising Star Award, Best Vegetarian Dish, Best Dessert, Best Hygienic Practice, and other prizes.

The competition
In the first round of the competition, the participants will be required to prepare four portions of a boned chicken dish with accompanying garnish in one-and-a-half hours. In this round the cheftestants will be judged on their basic skills, innovation and creativity.

In Round 2, the competition gets a little tougher as the participants will be judged on cooking technique, portioning, presentation, colour and finesse of the dishes. This is the vegetarian round, and they will have to prepare a dish suitable for lunch at a bistro or brasserie, along with a Pear Flan Bourdaloue and a basic custard sauce based on the ingredients provided to them.

The grand finale and the Plate Trophy finals will test the participants’ creativity, innovation, cooking skills and professional good practice in a time bound environment.

The finalists in both categories will be given two hours to prepare four portions of a vegetarian starter and four portions of a King Tiger Prawn main course dish with the same basket of ingredients. Both dishes must be prepared to be served at the brasserie restaurant.

The grand finalists will be provided with a secret ingredient and they will have to write about the health benefits of this secret ingredient, and hand it over to the judges before commencement of the final competition.

The judges will be a distinguished panel of national and international chefs and culinary professionals. These will comprise:
  • Chef Sanjeev Kapoor: Principal judge and chief mentor, YCO 2020
  • David Foskett: chairman, International Hospitality Council and chairman of the jury.
  • Chef Brian Turner: chief judge, YCO2020, and president, Royal Academy of Culinary
  • Chef Andreas Muller: deputy chief judge and programme director, international cuisine, VTC, Hong Kong
  • Ron Scott: chief adjudicator of the competition, and international director, Indismart Group
  • Paul Jervis: deputy adjudicator, and programme and operational manager for Culinary Arts, Westminster Kingsway College, England
A panel of distinguished international judges comprising celebrity, iconic chefs from across the world will preside over the competition at various stages.

YCO 2020 will be judged by stalwarts of the like of:
  • Chef Chris Galvin, Michelin-star chef and co-owner of Galvin Restaurants
  • Chef John Wood, Michelin-star chef and co-founder of consultancy firm, Kitchen Cut
  • Chef Vincenzo Oliveri, celebrity chef of Italian cuisine, popularly called Italian Chef of London
  • Chef Stefan Hogan, executive chef of The Corinthian Palace Hotel, Malta
  • Chef Garth Stroebel, judge for the World Association of Chefs’ Societies
  • Chef Anton Edelmann, chef and cookery writer who was maître chefs de cuisines at the Savoy Hotel, London
  • Chef Stuart Littlejohn, the executive chef of the Oxford and Cambridge Club, UK
  • Dr David Graham, principal lecturer, International Hospitality Management, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
  • Chef Steve Carter, executive chef, Boodles, London
  • Chef Henri Brosi, former executive chef at Dorchester Hotel London
  • Chef Andy Varma, experience International Indian Chef, leading global consultant and celebrity executive chef.
The judging panel will also include celebrity Indian chefs like:
  • Chef Parvinder Bali, the dean of Culinary School at the Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development, India
  • Manu Chandra, chef partner of Olive Cafés South Pvt Ltd.
  • Chef Abhijit Saha, founding director and chef of Avant Garde Hospitality Pvt Ltd
  • Chef Avijit Ghosh, corporate pastry chef of Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts, India
  • Karen Anand, a celebrated author and TV host and founder of Karen’s Gourmet Kitchen Pvt Ltd and of Markets by Karen Anand.
The special category of Ambassador and Mentors Awards will be judged by Prof Dr Zenobia Nadirshaw MBE and Kulsum Hussain, CEO, Welcome Skills, Bangladesh and UK.

The YCO 2020 Theme – Sustainability:
The International Hospitality Council (IHC) and the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) have pledged to support the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a blueprint that will help to achieve a better and more sustainable future for the world. The goals address the challenges that plague the world today including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, peace, prosperity and justice. Every goal is interconnected and in order to ensure that no one is left behind, the UN has set a target till 2030 to achieve all the goals. The participants coming from each country will present a paper on Sustainability at the Olympiad and the best presentation will win a Green Toque.

“YCO 2020 has embraced the theme of Sustainability and the world’s biggest culinary extravaganza aims to show the world how to make the world a better place for future generations. YCO brings people together and one of the biggest takeaways of YCO 2020 is that it will bring young people of the world on one platform. Sustainability is the theme for YCO 2020. At a global level, we are all looking towards this single most important thing that can really make us all suffer a lot in future if it is not taken care of from now itself. There will be a great educational factor in YCO from this year onwards. It is not just about cooking, culinary presentations but also about sustainability and how you can introduce it in your institution in your country,” said Dr Suborno Bose, the CEO of IHC and founder, YCO.  

United World of Young Chefs:
 Showcasing the multicultural and global spirit of YCO 2020, the United World of Young Chefs will see all the participants from 60 countries coming together at the United World of Young Chefs. Each participant will be dressed in traditional or national costume of their country and will present a national dish from their land. The event will be held before the Grand Finale at Kolkata.

Speaking on the YCO 2020, Dr Suborno Bose, said, “With 60 countries coming together under one roof to celebrate the diversity of food from across borders, YCO 2020 is not just the biggest culinary competition in the world but also a global platform fostering the spirit of youth, friendship, inclusiveness and camaraderie. Moreover, by making sustainability as the theme for this year, we are championing the cause with the involvement of young people who will help determine and shape the future through a global impact.”
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