Malaysia Wins Gold in IIHM YCO 2020, Philippines Wins Silver, England Takes Bronze

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Malaysia Wins Gold in IIHM YCO 2020, Philippines Wins Silver, England Takes Bronze

The curtains came down on the 6th International Young Chef Olympiad, at a dazzling closing ceremony held at the Nicco Park’s, Wet-o-Wild, Kolkata. After a nail-biting contest through six days across five Indian cities – Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Goa and Kolkata, Malaysia’s Chen Khai Loong was crowned the winner of YCO 2020. The Silver medal winner was Austin Cale Labago of Philippines while the Bronze winner was England’s Bethany Collings. The trophies were given away at the glittering prize distribution by Dr. Suborno Bose, Chairman, YCO and International Hospitality Council, Professor David Foskett, Chairman of the International Hospitality Council and Padma Shri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, the Principal Judge and Chief Mentor of YCO, and Chef Brian Turner, the President of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, in the presence of the 18 esteemed judges of YCO 2020. The winners lifted their trophies amidst cheering, fanfare and some beautiful fireworks display, as the world watched the entire event broadcasted live through social media network. A special attraction for the gold winner this year was the Gold Toque. At the historic moment, Malaysia’s Chen Khai lifted the trophy and donned the gold crown as he bagged the prize cheque of USD 10,000.

Organised by the International Hospitality Council (IHC), London in association with the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), YCO 2020 was yet another grand successful edition of the world’s biggest culinary competition with participants from 50 countries fighting tooth and nail to win the coveted title. This united platform of young chefs was the perfect example of bonding, friendship and learning together. “More than a competition, YCO is now a global youth platform and launchpad for the culinary superstars of tomorrow,” said Dr. Suborno Bose. In times when the world is fraught by political and social issues, the International Young Chef Olympiad is seen as a unified platform of young chefs from around the world, bringing friendship and camaraderie to this competition.

Apart from the three winners, YCO 2020 had a long list of special category winners. The Plate Trophy round held between the participants ranked 11 to 20 in the competition, went to Dominic Muollo of New Zealand this year. The Best Dessert Dish in Round 1 went to Ieuan Jones from Wales while the Late Shakuntala Devi Gupta Award for Best Vegetarian Dish Creation in Round 2 went to Eunjeong Jeong of South Korea.

Four Mentor Nominee Awards were given away at the YCO 2020. The winners were judged based on each of the mentor’s recommendations written about their respective participants. The awardees were Erik Shahbazyan of Armenia, Kethusegile of Botswana, Egon Euan Le Roux of South Africa and Obidiegwu Anuli of Nigeria. The IHC Best Young Chef Ambassador Awards was another category where participants had to write about themselves, their ambitions about becoming a chef and how they wish to further develop themselves. The four awards in this section went to Giorgia Ceccato of Italy, Samuel Farley of USA, Md Miraj  Mia of Bangladesh and Fatima Gomez of Mexico. Based on the hygiene and cleanliness maintained during competition, the participants were marked in the first two rounds. A winner was selected from each city round. Eunjeoung Jeoung from South Korea won the Best Hygienic Practice for the Delhi round, Micaela Da Costa from Portugal won for the Pune round, Savi Rajbahak from Nepal won the Goa round and Mihail Velkov from Switzerland won in the Bangalore round. The Rising Star awards for each city were Claudia Cebria Ros from Spain for Delhi round, Jonathan Larmie from Ghana for the Pune round, Savi Rajbahak from Nepal for the Goa round and Tarran O-Reilly from Ireland for the Bangalore round. The Kitchen Cut Award for best recipe nutritional analysis and costing presentation went to New Zealand, and the entries are judged by Chef John Wood, the founder of Kitchen Cut.

YCO 2020 had the theme of Sustainability, embracing the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In keeping with this theme, a special presentation had to be given by the participating countries about Sustainability measures in their own country. Out of the 10 countries who made presentations at the David Foskett auditorium on IIHM Global Campus, Bhutan’s Sonam Subba was winner. He was awarded the Green Toque of Sustainability.

YCO 2020 had a brilliant panel of esteemed judges from around the world. Led by Prof David Foskett (MBE), Chairman of the Jury, renowned chefs like Chef Brian Turner (CBE), celebrity TV chef and President of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, was chief judge of the competition. Chef Andreas Muller, Programme Director (International Cuisine) at VTC, Hong Kong, was Deputy Chief Judge, Michelin-starred chefs Chris Galvin and John Wood, the Founder and Director of Kitchen Cut were senior judges of the competition among several other iconic culinary professionals from around the world. YCO 2020 felicitated some of these special judges for their outstanding work in the field of culinary arts. The Outstanding Contribution to International Culinary Arts Award went to Chef Brian Turner. Outstanding Contribution to Industry went to Chef Andrew Bennett, Chef Apprenticeship Award went to Chef Stuart Littlejohn, Outstanding Contribution to Culinary Arts was for Chef Henri Brosi, the Award for Dedication to Training and Competition Work went to Chef Stefan Hogan while Outstanding Contribution to Culinary Education went to Chef Andreas Muller.

Besides the competition, the participants from 50 countries along with their mentors and the judges took part in various Food Aid activities, supporting IIHM’s initiative to support the UN’s Sustainable Goal Number 2 of Zero Hunger. They visited shelters and homes in the Indian cities where they met the boarders and distributed food among them. In Delhi, they visited SPYM Juvenile De-addiction Centre; in Bangalore, the mentors and participants visited Shumangali Seva Ashram while the judges went to Cheshire Homes. In Kolkata, the judges visited the renowned and respected Missionaries of Charity to pay homage to Mother Teresa and see the huge social work that happens through this organisation.

About IIHM:- IIHM (International Institute of Hotel Management) is the largest chain of premier hospitality and hotel management schools across India that started its journey in 1994 at Kolkata. IIHM is a part of Indismart Group, the conglomerate that operates the Indismart Hotels. IIHM campuses are located across ten national and international cities with the associate institute IAM-IHM located in Kolkata, Goa and Guwahati. Students passing out of IIHM are armed with an international degree from the University of West London and equipped with global hospitality skills that enable easy placements in any hospitality brand across the world. IIHM is dedicated to its pursuit of excellence in teaching and placements. Real time experience is the key to success in hospitality and that makes the institute popular. In recent years, IIHM has been instrumental in organizing the Young Chef Olympiad, a unique idea and initiative inviting young culinary talents across the world to participate in the biggest cookery reality shows of all times.

The institute has bagged several prestigious awards in the past 24 years. The list includes the Best Education Brand Award from Economic Times consecutively in 2017, 2018 and 2019. It was also featured in Forbes Magazine as Great Indian Institute and Great Place to Study consecutively in the year 2018 and 2019. IIHM was also awarded as one among the World’s Greatest Brands & Leaders 2015-16 by URS International (IMEA – Process Reviewer PriceWaterhouseCoopers PL) and also received the Best Institute in Hospitality Education 2017 Award by Assocham from Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister of State for HRD (Higher Education), Govt. of India.