Excitement brews as contestants cook up a storm on Day I of YCO finals
Competitors lauded for focus on tasks and meeting deadlines
Aprons were tied, ingredients prepped and plates set. Day One of the seventh edition of Young Chef Olympiad’s (YCO) finale saw five countries compete in the Grand Finale, and five more for the Plate Trophy. The second half of the finale will be held on February 5.
The finalists competing in the Grand Finale on February 4 were Lee Maan Ki from International Culinary Institute, Hong Kong; Jiwon Kim from Woosong University, South Korea; Jessica Louise Hoskins from Wellington Institute of Technology, New Zealand; Abhay Limbu from Academy Of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Nepal; and Swetang Ranjan from IIHM Kolkata, India.
The Plate Trophy finalists were Andzhela Boeva from HRC Culinary Academy, Bulgaria; Yahia Khaled from Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Jordan; and Seebarun Jason Girish Kumar from Mauritius Institute of Training and Development, Mauritius, Mahapatabendige Perera from William Angliss Institute, Sri Lanka; and Swabra Chimoli Iddi of Boma International Hospitality College, Kenya.
The Plate Trophy competitors were given two hours, while the Grand Finale finalists were given 30 extra minutes in the grand cook-off. The contestants had their mentors to seek advice from and were judged on hygiene practice, health and safety, workflow, creativity within the set recipe, cooking techniques, time management, and tasting.
At the end of the intense cook-off, the judges’ panel was all praises. Chef John Wood, one of the judges, counted “natural skills, confidence and creativity” as the three things he wanted to see in a champion. Judge Brian Turner was impressed with how all contestants finished on time in a competition conducted across time zones and had prompt answers for every question the judges put across to them. Judge Andreas Muller complimented the focus on sustainability this year, with cleaner kitchens, less food wastage and reusing materials for decoration.
The livestream of the event on YouTube allowed viewers to see the young chefs working intently in their kitchens around the world through Zoom breakout rooms.