Shaun Kenworthy

Culinary Director

The whole idea of having this Olym-piad originally came from the Young Chef India Schools. We expected that if we were lucky, we might get about eight to 10 countries to participate, and we were lucky that we ended up with 15 in the first edition of YCO in 2015. The concept took off and we grew to 50 countries.

Only food can bring 50 nations together harmoniously. It’s the most spoken lan-guage in the world. YCO is a great ini-tiative that helps build bridges for talent in this field across borders. It is a great opportunity for aspiring young cooks to showcase their talent and make their countries feel proud.

We introduced a section, Chef Speak, in each city, where local chefs socialise with the participants and mentors, and listen to their personal stories. There are also academic discussions by the judges.

The competition is based more on tech-nical ability and craft skills than the end taste. We look for good taste but also for a professional. We look for good knife skills and good cooking techniques like steaming, poaching, pan-frying.

Currently : Culinary director, IIHM Hotel School.

Previously : Guastavino’s in New York to The Park in Kolkata. Has helped set up numerous hotels, restaurants, bars, bakeries, confectioneries, cafes and clubs, including The Biere Club.

History : The UK-born and bred chef arrived in India in 2000 when the Indian palate was warming up to international cuisines. He brought with him European cooking techniques and traditions, along with a host of non-purist styles.