The 3rd edition of Young Chef Olympiad, which saw participation from over 45 countries, was held in three rounds across Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune and Kolkata from 28th of January 2017 to 2nd of February 2017.
Mathew was awarded the YCO 2017 Trophy and a cash prize of $10,000 by Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor, the noted chef, Prof. David Foskett and Dr. Suborno Bose, Chief Mentor of IIHM at the closing ceremony in Kolkata on 2nd February 2017.
Andrew Ou Kai Peng from Malaysia was the 1st runner up. Canada, who had won the YCO trophy in 2016, slipped to the third position this year. Selah Schmoll represented Canada in YCO 2017.
The winner, Tham Jiajun Mathew, Singapore said, "I want to thank everybody who has been through this journey with me. Especially my chef and my family. They helped me a lot. When I first came here, I just came to do what I do best."
His mentor, Satish Madaan praised Mathew's performance in the entire competition and said, "I am happy that IIHM in India organized such a big event where these students can show their talent and learn from each other across the world, we are really happy for Matthew, he followed all the techniques we taught him. We will definitely be coming back next year."
Top ten finalists based on the marks gained from the earlier three rounds were, Australia, Canada, England, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Other than YCO Trophy, there were other category awards presented as well:
- Dr. Zenobia Nadirshaw Award for the 'Most Inspiring Young Chef' - Won by Luigi Amaduzzi from Alma La Scuola Internazionale Di Cucina Italiana, Italy
- The Late Shrimati Shakuntala Devi Award for the Best Vegetarian Dish - won by Puja Mishra, IIHM, India. She was also awarded $500.
- Morde Best Dessert Award - won by Jack Gameson from University College Birmingham, England
- Best Hygiene Practice Award - won by Tham Jiajun Mathew from Sunrice Global Chef Academy, Singapore
Dr. Suborno Bose, Founder & Chief Mentor, IndiSmart Group & IIHM, 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 very glad to see a great response from the international community, who have come together to make this event such a great success over the past 3 editions. We have put India in the center of the culinary map in the world. We intend to make Young Chef Olympiad bigger, with over 100 countries for our next edition."
Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor, Mentor and Principal Judge, YCO said, "When we were studying, we didn't even know something like this existed. I am happy that students today can come here and experience something like Young Chef Olympiad. We will continue to welcome them to our country. To the international students, I say our fraternity of chefs from India will always be with you for anything you want to know about India or Indian food. I hope next year, we have 100 countries participating in Young Chef Olympiad."
Chef Ranveer Brar, celebrity chef and one of the technical judges for the final round, said, "This year, the 3rd season of YCO was a vast leap from the earlier season in terms of organization, quality of talent, and to the overall blend of the competition. The stress was mainly on technique and culinary basics."
YCO 2017 also had several other highlights like:
- YCO 2017 invited Logan Guleff, Winner of Masterchef Junior 2014, USA to India as their Celebrity Mascot. This was his first visit to the country.
- Participation of 50 countries was a first for the YCO event.
- An expert panel of highly reputed international celebrity chefs such as Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Karen Anand, Chef Ranveer Brar, Chef Andreas Muller, Chef Boris Leung Yee Chung, Chef Michele Prevedello, Chef Avijit Ghosh, Chef Abhijit Saha and Prof. David Foskett judged the final round.
- IIHM signed an MOU with 17 International Culinary Institutes with three primary objectives:
- Mutual student exchange for study abroad and semester exchange programs
- Mutual faculty exchange for visiting lecturers and/or conducting short-term courses either in person or online
- Collaboration for research
Photo caption (left to right): Chef Sanjeev_Bronze Winner Selah-Canada_Gold Winner Tham-Singapore_Dr Bose Chairman YCO_Silver Medal Winner Ou Kai-Malaysia