8th International Young Chef Olympiad, the world’s biggest culinary competition for student chefs, kick-starts virtually with great fanfare
New Delhi: The 8th edition of the International Young Chef Olympiad, which is the world’s biggest culinary battle for student chefs, has kick-started with a Grand Opening Ceremony, held virtually on Sunday i.e 30th January 2022. Organized by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), in partnership with the International Hospitality Council (IHC) London, YCO 2022 will host student chefs from more than 40 countries, including Spain, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Hong Kong, Scotland, Thailand, South Korea, Turkey, UAE and Sweden, among others. 176 Cameras placed in over 40 Countries across 24 Time Zones connecting over 143 Chef Judges from all over the World across the next 7 days to one feed, recording every move makes YCO one of the most complex systems of web crafted management for this incredible competition.
Key dignitaries from more than 40 countries attended the opening ceremony virtually. The attendees included Dr Suborno Bose (CEO-IHC and Founder YCO), Professor David Foskett (MBE) (Chairman, IHC and YCO 2021) as well as world-renowned chefs who form the panel of judges for YCO 2022, including Brain Turner CBE, Andreas Muller, Chris Galvin, John Wood, Stefan Hogan, Stuart Littlejohn, Henri Brosi, and Enzo Oliveri. YCO also brings 124 Expert Guest Sessions on varied topics for Students joining from all over the World to listen on dedicated 3 Channels beaming knowledge over the full Week.
The opening ceremony commenced with a video of the YCO journey from 2015 to 2022 and a live session welcoming the participating countries. The evening also witnessed live speeches by Dr Bose, Prof Foskett and Celebrity Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. The oath-taking ceremony of the participants, mentors and judges preceded the unveiling of the YCO 2022 Champion Trophy and the torch.
YCO 2022 has adopted the theme of Global Goals to encourage the culinary world to work together for a greater cause of environmental protection with a positive call to action towards sustainability. The theme lays impetus on the adoption of 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Suborno Bose said, “After hosting and executing first-ever virtual YCO in 2021, even the ongoing pandemic could not stagger the spirit of Young Chef Olympiad. We thought we couldn’t do it but the enthusiasm of all the participant countries encouraged us to host the 8th edition of the event. This year we are celebrating sustainability and global goals by emphasizing the 17 Sustainability Development Goals of the UN which has inspired global culinary research. In 2022, we have an even more diverse representation and we are highly delighted to see the young talent. We celebrate the culinary talents but also we celebrate the positivity of the young people around the world because the vision of the YCO was always to bring the young people to establish friendship, solidarity and brotherhood.”
Following the Opening Ceremony, a 5-day-long culinary battle will begin from today i.e 31st January through video conferencing. The top 10 contestants as per the scores of the previous round will compete in the Grand Finale of YCO 2022 on 3rd and 4th February split into 2 groups of 5 countries in each group, in different time zones to accommodate all. The Plate Trophy will also be held on the 3rd and 4th February wherein the contestants holding positions 11 to 20 in the first round will compete.
The Olympiad will conclude on 5th February with a Closing Ceremony, where the YCO 2022 Champion, runners-up and other awardees will be announced. This year, the participants will be competing for awards such as ‘Plate Trophy’, ‘Best Knife Skills’, ‘Best Vegetarian Dish’, ‘Best Creme Caramel’, ‘Best Hygiene and Kitchen Practice’, ‘6 Ambassador’s Awards’ ‘6 Mentor Awards’, ‘Best Use of Kitchen Cut Management Award’ and ‘Spirit of Young Chef Olympiad International Award’, ‘International Diamond Research Award’.
Professor David Foskett said, “YCO 2021 has shown us that we can conquer the unpredicted. With the same spirit of unity, we are gathered here to celebrate hospitality through young chefs. These young chefs are the youth of tomorrow who will change the world with the spirit of YCO. My vision is to unite the world of hospitality and culinary arts, build bridges, promote understanding, celebrate diversity and culture as well as recognize the talent young people have and the power they have to change the world for the better in the future. This year inspired by the Diamond Research Project, our theme focuses on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and climate change which has a wide influence on the youth of today. I believe in the saying, let there be light. Hospitality shows that light to the world. I hope the next year we could be together in India to celebrate the light hospitality emanates”
The Principal Judge of the competition, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor said, “As the principal judge of YCO 2022, I welcome all participating countries to the world’s biggest virtual culinary Olympiad for the young chefs. Last year we saw a newer version of YCO, but this year the 8th edition of YCO has raised the benchmark altogether with around 176 cameras across more than 40 countries. The world of hospitality is changing and soon the contributions of hospitality will be globally acknowledged through our young chefs”
Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar also spoke at the occasion and congratulated all the participant countries. He also said “YCO brings light to the hospitality industry and the culinary world. The spirit and the sophistication of the event have always amazed us. Whereas the last year showed us the ardent spirit of all the participants, this year the spirit has brightened. This year YCO has levelled up to support the cause of the UN through 17 Sustainable Development Goals which has deeply inspired hospitality worldwide”.
Sourav Valentine Gomes from IIHM Kolkata, who is representing India at this global event with mentor Clemant D Cruze, while sharing his excitement, said, “This is a big opportunity for me to represent my country in the prestigious Young Chef Olympiad. I would like to thank my faculty members, my college for giving me such a big platform. I am looking forward to winning the trophy, I will give my 100% to bring laurels to my country. With that, I am looking forward to gaining a lot of knowledge and skills from world-renowned culinary experts”
The YCO and Kitchen Management 2022 is joining with the IIHM Global Centre for Hospitality and Tourism Research in a new initiative this year. To help research skills development it has been decided to expand opportunities for culinary students and teachers/lecturers to demonstrate research skills in the global hospitality and tourism industry. Colleges and Universities are being asked to submit a research paper of no more than 5000 words the theme is ‘The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’.
The winners of the past editions of YCO were Ashwin Nicholas Oon from Malaysia (2015), Daniella Germond from Canada (2016), Tham Jiajun Mathew from Singapore (2017), Lai Jia Yi from Malaysia (2018), Cyrene Randrianasolo from France (2019) Chen Khai Loong from Malaysia (2020) and Lee Maan Ki from Hong Kong (2021).