About YCO

Young Chef Olympiad

Young Chef Olympiad started with a vision of being the best platform to bring the world closer, via food as food unites people.

Thus, Dr. Suborno Bose, Chairman,YCO Global Council Co-chairman and CEO, International Hospitality Council Founder and Chief Mentor, Indismart Group  YCO, took the initiative and kicked off Young Chef Olympiad in the year 2015 and rest is history!

Season 1

The International Young Chef Olympiad 2015 was held in the city of Kolkata, India. The Ministry of Tourism (India), Government of India supported the world’s first such event. The event was declared open at the City Centre (Salt Lake City, Kolkata) on the 29th of January 2015. All the participating countries namely United States, UK, Spain, France, Switzerland, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India, marched in to the arena with their country flags, supported by their teams and to unceasing applause from the crowd.

India was represented by Ms. Dhriti Verma, 3rd year student of IIHM Jaipur. Chief Guest for the evening, Mr. Scott Furssedonn Wood, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata, wished luck to the participants. Dr. Suborno Bose, founder of Young Chef Olympiad concept and chairman of the organizing committee of the event and Chief Mentor of International Institute of Hotel Management unveiled the YCO trophy and declared the Olympiad open.

The Young Chef Olympiad flag was carried to the opening ceremony by 4 women. Ms Madhumita Mohanta, Executive Chef of the Lalit Great Eastern – Kolkata, Siddhika Ghosh – Owner of Restaurant “The Wise Owl” in Kolkata, Chef Payal – Master Chef Finalist from Kolkata and Chef Priti Singh, Faculty- IIHM Kolkata.

The YCO oath was taken by Dhriti of India on behalf of all the participants. The Olympiad torch was carried to the arena by Garima Poddar, winner of the Young Chef India Schools 2014 contest held in London, and along with all the contestants lit up the main torch positioned on the top of the cake under the supervision of the Culinary Director of IIHM Chef Sanjay Kak. The lighting of the flames was followed by the cake cutting ceremony.

The 15 participants were Dylan from USA, Leo from France, Marcin from Spain, Marlon from China, Sumaiya from Bangladesh, Ian from Kenya, Indra from Bhutan, Tadiwa from Zimbabwe, Harsha from Sri Lanka, Ryan from Switzerland, Jennipha from Thailand, Tajinder from UK, Htoo from Myanmar, Ashwin from Malaysia and Dhriti from India. They had to compete against each other for the top 8 positions on 30 January in the preliminary and elimination round. They had to cook with the given ingredients, within a specified time. They were marked on creativity, hygiene, taste and optimum utilization of the ingredients.

The team of judges was headed by Prof. David Foskett – Head, London School of Hospitality and Tourism, University of West London, UK along with Chef Kunal Kapur of the Master Chef India fame, noted food critic and writer – Chef Karen Anand, Italian Master Chef Roberto Boggio, and Chef Shaun Kenworthy.

The final was a contest between Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, Kenya, France and India.

In the competitive finals the contestants were asked to cook vegetarian dishes which was challenging for contestants from France and Spain as they were not trained to cook such dishes.

The winner was Ashwin from Malaysia, followed by 1st runner up Marcin from Spain and 2nd runner up Tajinder from UK. Judges introduced an award for the Outstanding Dish as well and was given to Ian from Kenya.

Ashwin, the 2015 Young Chef Olympiad winner, was awarded a cash prize of $10,000 USD, the YCO trophy and a gold medal.

Season 2

The 2nd International Young Chef Olympiad 2016, supported by Ministry of Tourism (India), Government of India, organized by International Institute of Hotel Management was held across 4 cites, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata and saw a participation from over 50 countries around the world.
YCO 16 Opening Ceremony at the Talkatora Stadium, Delhi.

The opening ceremony was held at the Talkatora Stadium, Delhi on 27 January 2016. Students from various Delhi schools performed at the opening ceremony of YCO 2016.

The countries were divided into 3 groups for the round 1 of the competition. Round 1 at Delhi was held on 28 January 2016 at the IIHM, Delhi Campus and Group 2 and 3 flew to Mumbai and Bangalore for their Round 1 which was held on 29 January 2016. Round 1 at Mumbai was held at the Mumbai Cricket Association, Bandra Kurla Complex and Bangalore Round 1 was held at the Royal Orchid Hotel. Round 2 & the Grand Finale was held at the IIHM, Salt Lake campus, Kolkata.

There was a distinguished panel of Judges to judge the competition headed by Dr. David Foskett, who has been the dean and head of the London School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London, and is the chairman of the YCO jury.

The jury also had Chef Sanjeev Kapoor who is the principal judge and YCO mentor. Other panel members were Chef Kunal Kapur, Chef Andreas Muller, Chef Udo Leick, Chef Manjit Singh Gill, Chef Karen Anand, Chef Abhijit Saha and Chef Shaun Kenworthy.

After Round 2, 11 countries were selected for the final. They were UAE, Finland, Switzerland, France, Mexico, Kenya, Canada, Mauritius, Romania, USA & Hong Kong.
Dr. Suborno Bose & the panel of judges presenting the winner trophy to the YCO 16 winner Daniella Garmond.

The Award & Closing Ceremony was held at the Wet-O-Wild ground of Nicco Park. Usha Uthup was the star performer of the night. The joint second runner-up was Johan Kurkela from Finland & Fernando Andres Guajardo Moguel from Mexico. The first runner-up was Gabriela Aleksandrova Hristova from UAE.

The winner of the 2nd International Young Chef Olympiad 2016 was Daniella Garmond from Canadian Food & Wine Institute, Ontario, Canada. The trophy and cash prize of USD 10,000 was presented by Dr. Suborno Bose. The panel of Judges and Chef Ranveer Brar was present while the award was given.

Commenting on the event, Dr. Suborno Bose, Chairman of the Young Chef Olympiad and CEO-IIHM, said, “We are delighted at the global participation this year. It is a fantastic event that will reach out globally to as many countries as possible. Food has always been the biggest unifier and continues to be so in today’s day and age. YCO has connected talent across borders from the best culinary colleges under one roof making it a truly global event. Connecting the students from India with world class chefs from across the globe will not only bridge bonds but will also lay foundation of a global connect that will go a long way in each of their careers. The YCO will not only produce and refine the best talent amongst the young chefs but will also give the young talent a platform to learn, teach, showcase and network with.

Season 3

The 3rd International Young Chef Olympiad 2017, supported by Ministry of Tourism (India), Government of India, organized by International Institute of Hotel Management was held across 4 cites, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Kolkata and saw a participation from over 45 countries around the world.

The opening ceremony was held at the Talkatora Stadium, Delhi on 28 January 2017. Students from various Delhi schools performed at the opening ceremony of YCO 2017. The young chefs were divided into 3 groups and they battled it out in 3 rounds across 4 cities of Delhi, Bangalore, Pune & Kolkata.

The ten finalist countries, after completing 3 rounds, were Australia, Canada, England, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Tham Jiajun Mathew from Sunrice Global Chef Academy, Singapore was the winner of Young Chef Olympiad 2017.

Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor with Prof. David Foskett and Dr. Suborno Bose presented the Trophy and a cash prize of $10,000 to Tham Jiajun Mathew at the closing ceremony in Kolkata on 2nd February 2017.

1st runner up was Andrew Ou Kai Peng from Malaysia and 2nd runner up was Selah Schmoll from Canada.

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 commented, “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.“

Luigi Amaduzzi from Alma La Scuola Internazionale Di Cucina Italiana, Italy was awarded the Dr. Zenobia Nadirshaw Award for the ‘Most Inspiring Young Chef’. Puja Mishra of IIHM, India won the Late Shrimati Shakuntala Devi Award for the Best Vegetarian Dish which also carried a cash prize of $500. Jack Gameson from University College Birmingham, England won the Morde Best Dessert Award. Tham Jiajun Mathew also won the award for Best Hygiene Practice.

Dr. Suborno Bose, Founder & Chief Mentor of 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 who is the Mentor and Principal Judge of 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.“

Celebrity chef and technical judge, Chef Ranveer Brar 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.“

The celebrity mascot of YCO 17 was Masterchef Junior 2014, USA winner Logan Guleff.

Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Boris Leung Yee Chung, Chef Ranveer Brar, Chef Michele Prevedello, Chef Andreas Muller, Chef Karen Anand, Chef Avijit Ghosh, Chef Abhijit Saha and Prof. David Foskett were some of the notable judges of the Young Chef Olympaid 2017.

17 participating International Culinary Institutes from 17 countries signed MOU with IIHM, India for exchange of ideas, students and faculty.

Season 4

The 4th International Young Chef Olympiad 2018, supported by Ministry of Tourism (India), Government of India, organized by International Institute of Hotel Management was launched on 9 November, 2017 at The Hilton Double Tree Hotel in London. The launch ceremony was attended by the judges of The 4th International Young Chef Olympiad 2017. They are Chef Chris Galvin, Chef John Wood and Chef Enzo Oliveri. The adjudicators Zenobia Nadirshaw and Ron Scott along with Prof David Foskett, the chairman of the jury was also present, Dr Suborno Bose, the chairman of the Young Chef Olympiad 2018 Committee said, “The Young Chef Olympiad was conceptualised as a platform for young chefs-in- training from around the world to interact and showcase their talent. We are glad to see a great response from the international community, who have come together to make this event a great success over the past three editions. We have put India at the centre of the culinary map of the world. In future, we intend to make Young Chef Olympiad bigger with over 100 countries participating in our next edition.“ Participating countries was divided into number of groups in the launch ceremony.

The 4th International Young Chef Olympiad 2018, supported by Ministry of Tourism (India), Government of India, organized by International Institute of Hotel Management was held from 28th January to 2nd February across 4 cites, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Kolkata and saw a participation from over 50 countries around the world. The opening ceremony was held at the Talkatora Stadium, Delhi

Th United World of Young Chef was held on 31st January 2018 evening at the Hyatt Regency, Kolkata as a fun event where all the participating countries cooked their national disk.

The final top 10 countries were Bangladesh, Mauritius, Bhutan, Hongkong, Ireland, Malayasia, Iceland, New Zealand, South Korea and India.

The 4th Young Chef Olympiad was won by Lai Jia Yi from Malaysia and Surya Sekhar Roy Choudhury was the runner up. Lai Jia Yi won a cash price of USD 10,000 handed over by Padmashree Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Chairman of Jury Prof. David Foskett and Chief Mentor of IIHM Dr. Suborno Bose. The world’s biggest culinary competition was judged by eminent celebrity chefs and Michelin-starred winners including Padmashree Sanjeev Kapoor, Ranveer Brar, John Wood, Chris Galvin, Scott Baechler, and Enzo Oliveri

Season 5

The International Young Chef Olympiad 2019 was presented by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) in association with International Hospitality Council (IHC). The culinary competition this year had a special message for everyone. With the opening of the brand new IT-enabled Global Campus in Kolkata, IIHM made heads turn when hundreds of students, along with the judges and mentors turned out on the street of Sector V in Kolkata to celebrate the Global Connect and bonding and unity of so many countries, on 1st February 2019.
The campus was officially opened by a ceremonial ribbon cutting by the eminent judges, mentors, participants and IIHM students.
“It is indeed heart-warming to see the extraordinary response that the YCO has received from the hospitality and culinary industry globally, with 50 countries participating in YCO 2019. YCO is emerging as an annual global convention for the culinary stars of tomorrow. Today, standing at the closing ceremony of the fifth Young Chef Olympiad, I feel that this platform is about bringing the world together,” said Dr Suborno Bose, the Chairman of the YCO 2019 committee.
Six days, four cities and three thrilling rounds later, on the evening of 2nd February, 2019, France was crowned winner of the IIHM International Young Chef Olympiad 2019. The winners were announced at the end of a colourful and grand closing ceremony befitting the standard of the Young Chef Olympiad, held at Nicco Park in Kolkata.
Cyrene Randrianasolo, a student of Albert de Mun Hotel and Catering School, beat 49 other nations and was declared winner of the fifth edition of the world’s biggest culinary extravaganza. The silver trophy went to Romania’s Bogdan-Petru-Alin Vandici of ICEP Hotel School and the bronze went to England’s Luke Hayward from the University College of Birmingham.
This year, the International Young Chef Olympiad, had an additional attraction with a Plate Trophy for countries that ranked between 11 to 20. The plate trophy winner was Matthew Potgieter, a student of South African Academy of Culinary Arts.
Michelin Chef John Wood, who was a senior judge of YCO19 was here for the competition for the second time. He was awed by the whole experience. “IIHM is going great. Their hospitality and organization of the event is fantastic. As far as the competition is concerned, I think the standard is great,” he said.
Prof David Foskett, the Chairman of the Jury said, “The competition is about bringing people from different parts of the world together and that is what is most important here. Food unites people, it creates companionship, makes friends, breaks barriers and bonds people.”
Padma Shri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who is also the Chief Mentor of YCO said, “When we were studying, there was no platform like YCO. I am happy that students today have the opportunity to experience something like YCO.”
Chef Ranveer Brar, the Brand Ambassador of IIHM said, “YCO is a great platform where you give and you get. Both the participants and the students of IIHM who take part in organizing the event benefit from it eventually and get to learn a lot more.”

Season 6

Organised by the International Hospitality Council (IHC), London in association with the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), YCO 2020 was yet another grand successful edition of the world’s biggest culinary competition with participants from 50 countries fighting tooth and nail to win the coveted title. This united platform of young chefs was the perfect example of bonding, friendship and learning together.
“More than a competition, YCO is now a global youth platform and launchpad for the culinary superstars of tomorrow,” said Dr. Suborno Bose. In times when the world is fraught by political and social issues, the International Young Chef Olympiad is seen as a unified platform of young chefs from around the world, bringing friendship and camaraderie to this competition.
The curtains came down on the 6th International Young Chef Olympiad, at a dazzling closing ceremony held at the Nicco Park’s, Wet-o-Wild, Kolkata. After a nail-biting contest through six days across five Indian cities – Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Goa and Kolkata, Malaysia’s Chen Khai Loong was crowned the winner of YCO 2020. The Silver medal winner was Austin Cale Labago of Philippines while the Bronze winner was England’s Bethany Collings. The trophies were given away at the glittering prize distribution by Dr. Suborno Bose, Chairman, YCO and IHC, Professor David Foskett, Chairman of IHC and Padma Shri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, the Principal Judge and Chief Mentor of YCO, and Chef Brian Turner, the President of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, in the presence of the 18 esteemed judges of YCO 2020.
A special attraction for the gold winner this year was the Gold Toque.
YCO 2020 had the theme of Sustainability, embracing the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In keeping with this theme, a special presentation had to be given by the participating countries about Sustainability measures in their own country. Out of the 10 countries who made presentations at the David Foskett auditorium on IIHM Global Campus, Bhutan’s Sonam Subba was winner. He was awarded the Green Toque of Sustainability.
YCO 2020 had a brilliant panel of esteemed judges from around the world. Led by Prof David Foskett (MBE), Chairman of the Jury, renowned chefs like Chef Brian Turner (CBE), celebrity TV chef and President of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, was chief judge of the competition. Chef Andreas Muller, Programme Director (International Cuisine) at VTC, Hong Kong, was Deputy Chief Judge, Michelin-starred chefs Chris Galvin and John Wood, the Founder and Director of Kitchen Cut were senior judges of the competition among several other iconic culinary professionals from around the world.

Season 7

The 7th edition of the International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) 2021, organised by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) in association with International Hospitality Council (IHC), London will ‘Zoom’ into the kitchens of Student Chefs from 100 countries as they present their culinary skills.
As they go to war again, participants are expected to compete for that coveted title, this time virtually due to the ongoing Global Pandemic.
While participants from 55 countries fly down every year for this culinary battle, the stakes have only increased in YCO 2021, with the tournament making room for even more countries for its seventh edition. The competition will likely be held in the first week of February.
“The entire world is going through a challenging time and things have come to a standstill. However, even a pandemic cannot stop the spirit of the Young Chef Olympiad, and we are expecting participation from over one hundred countries this time. While we will miss the physical aspect of it, the fellowship, bonding and camaraderie between students from
across the globe and their mentors and judges will still be present,” said Dr Suborno Bose, chairman, YCO Global Council.
In the first round, contestants will be divided into virtual breakout rooms on the basis of their time zones. They will be given two-and-a-half hours to prepare three dishes.
Following the first round, the top 10 participants will move into the grand finale, where they will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. The participants ranked between the 11th and 20th positions will compete for the Plate trophy.
A four-camera setup, which includes a front-facing laptop camera, a camera focused on the entire table, a camera capturing the dish from the top, and a mobile camera for judges to be able to take a closer look at the dish.
This elaborate setup is needed to create an environment that replicates a physical kitchen as closely as possible.
To ensure smooth operation of the technical setup, there will be a run-through 45 days before the start of the event, where all participants will be briefed
While judging a competition on food virtually might seem like a challenge, the entire process has been carefully mapped out. The comprehensive multi-camera setup is aimed at ensuring maximum transparency.
Star British chef David Foskett, the chair of the panel of judges, and three adjudicators will be given access to visit any room they want during the competition, to ensure fair play and impartiality. Since taste is a vital part of culinary competitions, the judges panel will appoint a country judge to every participant who will taste the dishes and coordinate with the panel regarding the texture, temperature, mouth feel, flavours, seasoning and other aspects which can’t be experienced through a screen.
Impressing the judges’ panel comprising Michelin star chefs such as Chris Galvin and Brian Turner will not be easy. Chef Enzo Oliveri, Chef John Wood, Andreas Muller and the likes of Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor, YCO jury will add glitz to the competition.
Participants will be tested on a variety of parameters like hygiene, presentation, health and safety. They will also be marked on how well they follow the methodology of the recipe, while also using ingredients creatively.
The World is waiting to experience the Biggest Virtual Culinary Battle for Hope, YCO21 that will again bring forth ideas, innovations and one amazing virtual battle.

Season 8

The 8th International IIHM Young Chef Olympiad drew to a close at a glittering Closing Ceremony organised at IIHM Kolkata’s Global Campus. Matteo Cignetti of Italy won the coveted gold trophy, digital certificate and cheque for USD 5,000 to be crowned Best Young Chef of 2022. The silver went to Chong Jia De of Singapore while Halldor Haflidason of Iceland bagged bronze.

After seven eventful days across six continents and 24 times zones, a remarkable edition of the world’s Biggest Culinary Battle came to a close. Connecting over 50 countries of the world through state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure, YCO22, was one of the biggest in size and scale with 176 cameras catching all the action of 40 participants, 200 judges, 150 hospitality stalwarts. The Closing Ceremony, on the online platform, was equally grand and exciting as the offline event. IIHM Global Campus in Kolkata had turned into YCO Global Studio, that was the nerve centre of all the action that was happening through seven days of this mega culinary event. The winners, connected over video conferencing at different ends of the world and sitting in different time zones, rejoiced and celebrated their win on video, as their names were announced by Prof David Foskett, the Chairman of the Jury, YCO and Padma Shri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, the Principal Judge of YCO.

YCO 2022 had a very important and significant theme that aims to achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A special award, the Zenobia Nadirshaw Diamond Research Award went to students who had done research on the SDGs and how to achieve them to make the world a better place to live. Four awards in this category went to Kenya, Bangladesh, India and Italy.

YCO 2022 successful connected the world on a single virtual platform and left everyone awestruck of the scale and organisation by IIHM. From the Opening Ceremony, the cook-offs, the United World of Young Chefs, the symposiums and even the glamorous Closing Ceremony saw seamlessly connection of participants, mentors and judges from different geographies and time zones together at the same time on the same platform. “YCO 2022 has been exemplary in showing how we can beat a pandemic and the obstacles that it brings with it and we have done it together. This has been an incredible YCO with the support of the countries, mentors, judges and everyone who was involved. It has been tough for everyone including those who have even tested Covid positive during the competition. YCO 2022 has shown the light of hope and positivity to the hospitality industry and I think this is the beginning of good days again. We are absolutely committed to the UN SDGs and we are also proud and grateful to the UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili for his support. This YCO was dedicated to the SDGs and it is an honour to be able to be associated with these goals,” said Dr Suborno Bose, CEO, International Hospitality Council (IHC) and Founder, YCO.