“My dream is to open a restaurant with comfort, healthy, affordable but delicious food for everyone. Food from our land and sea. Food from the South Aegean!” affirms Aikaterini Gonidaki, the young talent that will represent South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019 at the 6th European Young Chef Award.
26 years old, Aikaterini comes from a traditional fishermen family from Patmos, in the Dodecanese. Since she was a child, she has always admired her mother and grandmother cooking and tried to help them so that she could learn how to cook herself.
Aikaterini has recently finished her cooking studies at Anko Academy and started working at Blue Lagoon Resort in Kos. “I feel so lucky because I do the job I love. Basically, I do not even consider it as a job, it is an art, and I am part of it” she claims.
“Cooking in Greece is a ritual. A ritual whose ultimate goal is to please our family, friends and customers. The most important thing to me is to make people forget about their problems while eating my food and make them smile. That’s majestic!”
“Participating in the European Young Chef Award is a dream come true for me, as I never thought I could achieve this goal of mine. I am very excited about the opportunity to get an international jury to taste my food, my memories, my Apocalypse of the Aegean!”
At the European Young Chef Award 2022, Aikaterini will present her dish Apocalypse of the Aegean, an innovative reinterpretation of the traditional recipe Kakavia that fishermen used to prepare on their same boats using different kinds of small fish, crabs, shrimps, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. A simple dish but with a tremendous taste because all ingredients are boiled into sea water.
About IGCAT’s European Young Chef Award
The European Young Chef Award is an annual competition organised by IGCAT that gathers young culinary talents from the awarded and candidate European Regions of Gastronomy. Selected each year through local contests, finalists to the European Young Chef Award compete by innovating traditional recipes from their regions using local ingredients.
The 6th edition of the European Young Chef Award is organised and promoted by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) and hosted by the Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022. The competition will be held at Strinda High School in Trondheim on 11-12 November 2022, with the support of Trondheim Municipality, Trøndelag County Authority, and Innovation Norway.
About the World Regions of Gastronomy
Candidate and awarded World/European Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; driving environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; supporting balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlighting and supporting expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practices; and contributing to community health and well-being.
IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguarding our planet, health, wellness and local economies.
IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.
IGCAT founded the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World/European Regions of Gastronomy Platforms. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the World Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers Award and the international Food Film Menu.