It’s that time of the year again when India hosts the world’s greatest culinary extravaganza for student chefs from around the world. The fifth edition of the International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) will be held across four cities – Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru and Kolkata – from 28th January to 2nd February, 2019. This year’s competition will see young chefs from 55 countries participating. In this five-day long intense competition, students from some of the world’s best culinary and hospitality institutions will fight for the YCO 2019 winner’s trophy, a cash prize of USD10,000 and an acknowledgement of their skills from the most celebrated industry stalwarts. The event will be organized by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) in partnership with the International Hospitality Council London and it is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The Grand Opening Ceremony of YCO 2019 will take place at the Talkatora Stadium in Delhi on 28th January. The competition will commence from 29th January. Over the next three days, two rounds of culinary challenges will be held in Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru. The 55 nations have been divided into six groups from A to F through a draw that was held at London in November last year. The 10 countries who have been categorised into Group F will be coming to Bengaluru after the opening ceremony at Delhi. They will be completing Rounds 1 and 2 at Bengaluru after which all teams will be travelling to Kolkata for the Finals.
The top 10 cheftestants who will be selected based on the aggregate score from the first two rounds in all four cities will go through to the Grand Final of YCO 2019, to be held in Kolkata on 2nd February. The contestants who will secure positions 11 to 20 after the first two rounds will compete for the YCO Plate Trophy on the same day. The ultimate YCO2019 Champion and the other awardees will be announced at the Closing Ceremony on 2nd February. The cheftestants will be fighting for a total of 18 awards at the 2019 edition of YCO. The 10 countries under Group F will be coming to IIHM Bangalore campus to compete and complete Rounds 1 and 2 of YCO 2019. They are Ireland, Nepal, France, Uganda, Italy,
Turkey, Seychelles, Jordan, Bhutan, Ghana and others. Madhumitha Krishnasamy, a third year student at IIHM Bangalore, will represent India at YCO 2019. An ardent fan of Chef Marco Pierre White and cookery show ‘Nigella’s Kitchen’, Madhumitha said, “Young Chef Olympiad is a great platform that invites culinary aspirants from over 50 countries to come and showcase their artistry. It is overwhelming as well as an honour to be able to represent not only your Institute but also the whole country and competing with the 50 plus countries who would be putting in their efforts to make a mark.” With regard to her preparations for the upcoming competition, Madhumitha said, “The practice sessions are incredibly tiresome, however they also teach me something new each time. Cooking for me is not just putting ingredients together; it is the art of adding a palette of colours, moods and flavours on a plate. I am focusing on sharpening my skills further to meet the expectations of the competition standard set.”
Judges at the contest will include Chef Avijit Ghosh, Corporate Pastry Chef of the Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, Chef Abhijit Saha, Co-founder and Director of Avant Garde Hospitality and Consultant and Chef Patron at Afraa restaurant of the Ambuja Neotia Group besides others. Dr Suborno Bose, Chairman of the Young Chef Olympiad 2019 Committee said, “Young Chef Olympiad was conceptualized as a platform for young chefs in training from around the world to interact and showcase their talent. We are overwhelmed by the response from the international community who come together to make this event a grand success.”