Andy Varma

Co-founder of Vama

I think the competition is incredible. What’s interesting is that more and more countries are now excited about this programme. I think, credibility wise, YCO has put India on the map, people are sitting up and taking notice from the hospitality sector. That’s why there are so many hotel brands like ITC, Hyatt and Taj wanting to be a part of YCO.

The future is basically trained chefs, skills, competition, pressure, and thinking out of the box. At YCO, we’re look-ing at all that, plus innovation, skills, technique, and most importantly timing.

For me, to come back to my city, Kolkata, and to be a part of the contest from the other side, that is judging instead of cooking, gives me a different perspective. The perception that India is a backward country changes once they are here and see the international standards of our hotels.

My message to future participants is to stay focused. ‘Less is more’ so learn to keep a clean, beautiful plate, showing off your skills to plate texture, colour, taste, appearance, aroma, so that the judges interact with all senses.

Celebrity chef and icon in the British Asian food industry for the last two decades.

Co-founder and chef de cuisine of Vama and Chakra restaurants in London.

Director in a bespoke destination event planning and catering company, Purple Jasmine.

Anchored the cookery segment of the Good Morning India show, watched by over 33 million viewers daily. Appeared on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, the Good Food Channel, Nickelodeon, Star TV, and several TV shows in London.

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