France wears IIHM’s Young Chef Olympiad 2019 crown

February 7, 2019

Six days, four cities and three thrilling rounds later, on the evening of February 2, France was the crowned winner of the IIHM International Young Chef Olympiad 2019. The winners were announced at the end of a colourful and grand closing ceremony befitting the standard of the Young Chef Olympiad held at Nicco Park in Kolkata. Cyrene Randrianasolo, a student of Albert de Mun Hotel and Catering School, beat 49 other nations and was declared winner of the fifth edition of the world’s biggest culinary extravaganza. She was also the lucky first to wear the Golden Chef Cap given for the first time this year to the winner of YCO 2019. The silver trophy went to Romania’s Bogdan-Petru-Alin Vandici of ICEP Hotel School and the bronze went to England’s Luke Hayward from the University College of Birmingham. Along with the trophy, Cyrene also bagged a gold medal and was handed over a cheque for $10,000.

Shocked and awed at her victory, Cyrene was nervous and managed to thank everyone for her win. “I am honoured to win this recognition from IIHM at YCO 19. I want to thank them all for this wonderful opportunity and I am overwhelmed to have won this trophy and prize,” said Cyrene.

This year, the International Young Chef Olympiad, had an additional attraction with a Plate Trophy for countries that ranked between 11 to 20. The plate trophy winner was Matthew Potgieter, a student of South African Academy of Culinary Arts.

The International Young Chef Olympiad 2019 commenced on January 28 with a grand opening ceremony at Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Auditorium in New Delhi. The countries completed two rounds of competition in Delhi, Pune and Bangalore before coming to Kolkata for the final round.

Cyrene bagged the winner’s trophy after the final round held at the IIHM Global Campus in Kolkata. The final round included preparing a salmon-based dish, a potato-based side and a dessert.  Apart from the winner’s trophy Cyrene also bagged an award for Best Hygienic Practice.

The International Young Chef Olympiad 2019, presented by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) in association with International Hospitality Council (IHC). The culinary competition this year had a special message for everyone.  With the opening of the brand new IT-enabled Global Campus in Kolkata, the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) made heads turn when hundreds of students, along with the judges and mentors turned out on the street of Sector V to celebrate the Global Connect and bonding and unity of so many countries, on February 1. The campus was official opened by a ceremonial ribbon cutting by the eminent judges, mentors, participants and IIHM students.

“It is indeed heartwarming to see the extraordinary response that the Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) has received from the hospitality and culinary industry globally, with 50 countries participating in YCO 2019. YCO is emerging as an annual global convention for the culinary stars of tomorrow. Today, standing at the closing ceremony of the fifth Young Chef Olympiad, I feel that this platform is about bringing the world together. Its about global harmony, coming together, bonding cultures and making ‘one world’. Young Chef Olympiad is much bigger than just a cooking competition, it is a platform for the united world of young chefs,” said Dr Suborno Bose, the chairman of the YCO 2019 committee.

Winners in other categories

The International Young Chef Olympiad 2019 had a bunch of surprises for everyone. There were several other category prizes which went to the countries. The Best Dessert Dish in Round 1 went to Ahmed Alawadhi from Bahrain, the Late Shakuntala Devi Award for Best Vegetarian Dish Creation in Round 2 went to Andrea Guardiani from Italy. Apart from France, the Best Hygienic Practice Awards also went to Jordan McKenzie of Scotland and Henry Tan Jung Ming from Singapore.

The Best Ambassador Awards went to Ryan Malone of Ireland, Eden Frank of New Zealand and Gizem Öznacar from Switzerland. The Mentors Nomination Awards went to Elina Seguin of Canada, Daniel Busuttil of Malta and Jordan Mckenzie of Scotland.

The Rising Star Award selected from the Delhi rounds went to Yea Rim Kim of South Korea. The Rising Star from the Pune round went to Tafadzwa Nigel Siyanga from Zimbabwe.

The Welcome Skills Special Achievement Award went to Aqsa Iqbal of Bangladesh.

Michelin Chef John Wood, who was a senior judge of YCO19, graced the competition for the second time. Awed by the whole experience, Wood said, “IIHM is going great. Their hospitality and organisation of the event is fantastic. As far as the competition is concerned, I think the standard is great. From the judges’ point of view, we should try to educate and guide these students who are in a learning experience, not just a competition. The plat trophy was introduced to encourage the students. YCO is all about celebrating success when we have got something right, which is why we have so many different categories of awards,” he said.

On the occasion, Professor David Foskett, chairman of the jury said, “The competition is about bringing people from different parts of the world together and that is what is most important here. Food unites people, it creates companionship, makes friends, breaks barriers and bonds people.”

Padma Shri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who is also the chief mentor of YCO said, “When we were studying, there was no platform like YCO. I am happy that students today have the opportunity to experience something like YCO.”

Chef Ranveer Brar, brand ambassador of IIHM said, “YCO is a great platform where you give and you get. Both the participants and the students of IIHM who take part in organising the event benefit from it eventually and get to learn a lot more.”

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