* Azerbaijan wins gold, Thailand wins silver, India wins Bronze
After a week of intense cooking and judging across six Indian cities, YCO 2023—the world’s biggest culinary olympiad—finally came to a finish at a spectacular Closing Ceremony and Awards Night held at Wet-O-Wild, Nicco Park Complex, Salt Lake, Kolkata.
The 9th edition of YCO—held in a physical format after a gap of two years when it had to be conducted virtually owing to the COVID-19 pandemic—sawsome of the world’s most talented young chefs compete with each other to be awarded the Best Young Chef in the World. YCO 2023 also witnessed the presence of some of the most eminent and well-known personalities from the world of Hospitality and Tourism.
A day before—on 3 February, 2023—in a nail-biting finish, the Top 10 finalists of YCO 2023 had been selected in the Grand Finale held at the IIHM Global Campus in Sector V, Salt Lake, Kolkata. The Top 10 Finalists were: Azerbaijan, England, France, India, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the USA.
“Organized by sheer determination, the Young Chef Olympiad is not about winning or losing,” said Dr Suborno Bose, the visionary and hospitality education pioneer behind YCO,“It is about friendship, camaraderie, bonding, and about making friends for life. Yes, it’s a competition but it’s also the place where the world meets the world. It’s the place where you make memories for life”
The Closing Ceremony was a massive, grand and star-studded event, symbolising the unputdownable spirit of the students, mentors, judges and all those associated in making #YCO2023 a mega success.At the grand Closing Ceremony, all the 53 participating countries—young chefs and their mentors—who had travelled across the world to participate in YCO were called on stage and introduced to the audience. This must have been the biggest congregation of Young Chefs anywhere in the world.
The Closing Ceremony, in the presence of the dignitaries of the Culinary World who shared their past YCO experiences and provided insights on the importance of fine detailing and sustainable hospitality to the participating 50+ countries, was a riveting experience.
Professor David Foskett, MBE and Chairperson of the Jury for YCO 2023 shared his thoughts on the mega event. In a recorded video message,Lord Karan Billimoria, Chancellor, University of Birmingham, congratulated IIHM on pulling off the mega event and wished it all the best.
A high point of the Closing Ceremony was the presence of celebrity chef Padma Shree Sanjeev Kapoor, who is the Chief Mentor of the Young Chef Olympiad. With his sweet smile, poise and charisma, he charmed the audience.
And then it was time to hear the visionary thoughts of Dr Suborno Bose, the man behind it all. CEO of International Hospitality Council, Young Chef Olympiad, Chairman and Group CEO, IIHM and Indismart Group Worldwide, Dr Bose is a Visionary and Leader in the hospitality arena who needs no introduction. It is his dare-to-do-style that has made the World’s Biggest Culinary Olympiad a reality. It is Dr Bose who has singlehandedly brought 53 countries under one roof, with the event being beamed globally on IIHM’s dedicated channel with over 3.3 Million subscribers.
It is crucial to acknowledge YCO 2023’s Kitchen IT Partner – Kitchen Cut by YCO Chief Judge Chef John Wood which very kindly lent use of the fabulous software that was use in the Kitchen for the YCO Competition. Indeed, Team YCO thanked all the sponsors without whose support YCO 2023 would not have been possible.
Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived and the Top 3 Winners of YCO 2023 were announcedto much fanfare and applause.
Naureen Shaikh from India won Bronze and a cash prize of US$ 2,000
PatiphonLertsurakitti of Thailand won Silver and a cash prize of US$ 3,000
Emil Zeynalzade of Azerbaijan walked away with the top prize—the coveted Gold Trophy and a cash prize of US$ 5,000
HE Dr Ashraf Shikhaliyev, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to India, who had especially flown in from New Delhi to attend the Closing Ceremony, was delighted with Azerbaijan’s win and wished the Young Chef from Azerbaijan all the best for his career.
YCO is a one-of-a-kind event wherein countries from across the globe come together on a single platform and participate to compete for the most prestigious title of YCO Winner .IIHM, the proud host,was thankful as another remarkable and memorable edition of YCO came to an end.
The Closing Ceremony also had the audience swinging to the gorgeous SHANE’s hip-moving, foot-tapping numbers.
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