Kolkata’s International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), part of IndiSmart Group recently hosted the first ever International Young Chef Olympiad 2015 (YCO) in the city. The three-day culinary event was officially declared open at an ‘Olympic-like’ inauguration ceremony held at Salt Lake’s City Center. The official flag for the event was unfurled and anthem of the YCO was launched and the official oath was taken by the Indian entrant on behalf of the participants. Even the ‘Olympic like’ flame was ignited at the inauguration ceremony.
Students from culinary schools of 15 countries like Bhutan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, USA, UK, Switzerland, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, France, Myanmar, China and hosts India participated at the event.
The highlights of the second day were the semi-finals, where the countries were divided in two teams and each one of them had to cook different dishes for the judges within a stipulated time. They had to prepare three dishes- the starter, the main course and a dessert under the supervision of a panel of judges, headed by David Foskett, the renowned author, culinary arts expert and Chef and other renowned chefs which included celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur, Chef Roberto Boggio -Master-chef, Le Meridien Pune, celebrity Chef & food-critic Karen Anand, Chef Shaun Kenworth & Chef Sanjay Kak, Director–s with IIHM Group.
The Union Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India extended its support and partnership to the mega event by giving the permission to use its ‘Incredible India’ logo on all the marcoms of the event.
After the gruelling semi-finals, eight finalists selected were from Spain, Kenya, Switzerland, India, UK, France, Malaysia and Thailand.
At the end, Ashwin Nicholas Oon emerged as the winner of the first International Young Chef Olympiad. The 21-year-old from Taylor’s College, Malaysia walked away with the prize money of US$ 10,000 along with the gold trophy, the gold medal and a certificate, besides being crowned the Young Chef global ambassador. The first and second runners-up were Marcin Maciej Maliczowski of Les Roches Marbella Spain – International School of Hotel Management and Tajinder Singh Sehdev of London School of Hospitality & Tourism, University of West London, respectively.
David Foskett, head of London School of Hospitality & Tourism, University of West London and Suborno Bose, chief mentor and chairman of IndiSmart Group made the announcements at Nalban Boating Complex in the city.
Commenting on the initiative Foskett told Food & Hospitality World, “The Young Chef Olympiad is a unique concept crystalised by Dr Bose. It provides a unique platform for the budding chefs, where they can compete and interact with the best of talents in the world. An event like this gives them the chance to challenge one another, learn from one another and bring out the best out of them. I feel that this is a real step forward towards promotion of culinary art in the country as India is a land of varied culture and cuisine is an integral part of this culture.”
He added that today India is now firmly on the global gastro map as the talent of its chef has been admired in the West.
He felt that ‘Young Indian chefs working globally have broken the common myth of the West that Indian cuisine only means curry’. Foskett said Indian cuisine is fresh, healthy, varied and rich in taste. But it has failed to promote itself as a ‘food destination’ inspite of these strengths. He said events like this will help India to promote as a ‘food destination’, attract connoisseurs of food from the world-over and bring in fresh talents.
“The idea behind organising the Young Chef Olympiad is to provide an opportunity to showcase the world cuisine while breaking down barriers and at the same time highlighting among the Indian student fraternity the growing acceptance of hospitality as a sought-after career option,” said Dr Bose.