New Delhi, Jan 29 : With a room full of young, enthusiastic and vibrant young chefs from 45 countries, the International Young Chef Olympiad 2017--- world's biggest culinary competition for student chefs---kicked-off in the national capital on Saturday.
A grand opening ceremony, which was held at the Talkatora stadium here, where various schools from the national capital region performed cultural dances and songs, was the first event of the three-round-four-cities-five-day event.
Talking exclusively to ANI, the celebrity mascot of the Olympiad and the winner of MasterChef Junior US 2014, Logan Guleff said that he draws his inspiration from Gordan Ramsay.
Logan, who started practicing his culinary skills at the age of two said, "Creativity and innovation are two of the most important must-have skills in a chef".
Participant representing the defending champions, Canada, Selah Schmoll told ANI about her to-be-scared of skills for her competitors in the kitchen and said, "I think it's the sense of urgency in a kitchen that makes me different from other participants.
20-year-old Puja Mishra from Kolkata, who is representing India in the Olympiad, told ANI that she has been cooking from the age of seven, draws inspiration from her mother and has expertise in Indian cuisine.
"I am a bit nervous but since I have been preparing for this challenge for the last few months, I am hoping for the best.
I plan to give my 100% and see how it goes stage by stage", she added. The teams from 45 countries will be competing in three rounds of culinary challenges of varying difficulty levels.
Thereafter, top ten contestants from the three rounds will showcase their gastronomic talent in the final battle for the winner's trophy and a cash prize of (Dollar) 10,000.
The competition will be held across four cities i.e Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata. The grand finale will be held in Kolkata on February 02. Judges for this competition are Prof. David Foskett (OBE), Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Ranveer Brar, Chef Andreas Muller from Hong Kong, Chef Udo Leick from Dubai, Chef Abhijit Saha, Chef Andy Varma from the UK, Chef Parvinder Bali, Chef Ajay Chopra and Chef Shaun Kenworthy among others.
According to Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who is the Principal Judge and the International Young Chef Olympiad Mentor, "Being a professional chef is a very demanding, high pressure and extremely competitive job.
A platform like the Young Chef Olympiad is a great way to showcase your talent and stand out amongst scores of others in the field.
It also provides a brilliant learning curve because it gives you a great insight on what is going on in the industry.
Winning or even just participating can boost the levels of confidence and motivation in a young chef." International Young Chef Olympiad is an initiative of the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) and is supported by Incredible India, Government of India.
The inaugural edition of the event in January 2015 saw participation from more than 15 countries and was won by Ashwin Nicholas Oon from Malaysia.
Over 45 countries participated in the 2016 edition, with Daniella Garmond from Canada emerging as the ultimate champion.
The other countries that will be represented in this competition include England, Italy, New Zealand, Thailand, Egypt, Bangladesh, UAE, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, Spain, Canada and France among others.