New Delhi: The world’s biggest Olympiad for culinary students – the IIHM International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) – is back with a bang to celebrate the multicultural diversity of food from across the world. After the success of YCO 2021, the eighth edition of the event will be held virtually this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from 30th January to 5th February. YCO 2022 will witness the participation of student chefs from more than 40 countries, including Spain, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Turkey, UAE, Sweden, among others. The competition will unite the young talents of the culinary world to champion this virtual culinary battle through their positive action.
During the 6-day long intense competition, which is being organized by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) in partnership with the International Hospitality Council London, the contestants will undertake 2 rounds of culinary challenges in their quest to win the coveted YCO 2022 title with Gold for a cash prize of USD 5,000; Silver for USD 3,000 and Bronze for USD 2,000 with digital certificates would be awarded to the winners.
Talking about YCO 2022, Dr Suborno Bose, the CEO of International Hospitality Council (IHC) and Founder YCO said, “With the overwhelming success of YCO 2021, more than 40 countries are coming together virtually consecutively for the second year, to celebrate the diversity of food from across the borders, YCO 2022 is not just the biggest culinary competition in the world but also a global platform fostering the spirit of youth, friendship, diversity and inclusiveness. Moreover, it brings all the young and talented future stars of the international culinary scene on a single platform where they connect with each other and share insights out of their experiences. YCO 2021 saw an unprecedented level of talents in young chefs, YCO 2022 is levelling up by inviting participants from more countries to compete for the title.”
YCO 2022 will commence on 30th January with a grand opening ceremony at 06:30 PM IST and the competition rounds will start from 1st February on Zoom video conferencing. The Opening Ceremony can be viewed at https://myiihm.com/YCO22OpeningYT. The top 10 contestants as per the scores of the previous round will compete in the Grand Finale of YCO 2022 on 4th and 5th February split into 2 groups of 5 countries in each, across 2 days in different time zones to accommodate all. The Plate Trophy will also be held on 4th and 5th 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 Crème 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’.
It is anticipated that more countries will participate in YCO 2022 online on Zoom, each participant will be recorded live in his or her kitchen carrying out a skill test and preparing each of the 2 dishes within the prescribed time and a team of judges will be able to view the work of each participant throughout the entire competition period. Due to the time zones, competing countries will be divided into groups according to their local time’s proximity. Virtual competition rooms will be created for each group of judges allowing for the judges to interact throughout the full period of the competition, to discuss each competitor and to mark accordingly.
In the competition’s first round, the contestants will be required to prepare three dishes – the first competition knife skill test, where the candidates have to cut various vegetables in different chopping styles, 4 portions of Creme Caramel served with an innovative fruit sauce to complement the caramel using their choice of ingredients and 4 portions of a Vegetarian stuffed pasta dish. The contestants will be judged on their basic skills, nutrition, health, safety and hygiene, taste and creativity in this round.
The Grand Finale and Plate Trophy Finals of YCO 2022 will test the contestant’s creativity, innovation, cooking skills and professional good practice in a time-bound environment. For the grand finale, the contestants will be given 2 and a half hours to create 4 portions of chicken from 1.5 kg prepared chicken and a new 4 portion chocolate dessert with prescribed ingredients. For the Plate Trophy Finals, the contestants will be required to prepare a chicken dish from 1.5 kg chicken, but in 2 hours.
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 5,000 words the theme is ‘The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’.
Prof David Foskett (MBE) will be the Chairman of the Jury while Padma Shri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor will be the Principal Judge and Mentor for YCO 2022. The panel of judges will include internationally acclaimed judges and celebrity chefs including Chef Brain Turner CBE, the President of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Chef Andreas Muller from Hong Kong, Chef Enzo Oliveri (Italy), Chef Chris Galvin (UK), Chef John Wood (UK), Chef Garth Stroebel (South Africa), Chef Gary Maclean, Chef Stuart Littlejohn, Chef George Smith, Chef Karl Guggenmos and many more. The judges will evaluate the contestants on their ability to efficiently manage a food production area keeping in mind factors like health and safety, good hygiene, practice, ability to follow a recipe, culinary skills, creativity, etc.
Launched in the year 2015, YCO aims to give young student chefs from around the world a platform to showcase their skills and compete at the global level. Through the last seven editions of the Olympiad, the world has seen culinary stars being born and dreams being celebrated on the global culinary stage. 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 Manki from Hong Kong (2021).