EYCA 2023_Boštjan Volk

Boštjan Volk to fly the flag of Slovenian gastronomy at the EYCA 2023

“Through the European Young Chef Award, I aim to gain new knowledge, experience, and friendships across Europe. Besides that, I intend to showcase my region and emphasize the significance of bees, which are vital for life on earth,” affirms Boštjan Volk, the finalist who will represent Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021 at the 7th European Young Chef Award.

Boštjan Volk is 25 years old and comes from a small village called Plešivec in Slovenia. His first experience in the kitchen was at a young age in his family restaurant that serves home-cooked cuisine. His desire to cook became even stronger when he enrolled in Velenje High School for Service Activities. After that, he continued his studies at the Higher School of Catering and Tourism in Maribor, where he graduated.

His passion for cooking grows day by day, as for Boštjan it is one of the most beautiful professions: “Of course, there are difficult times,” he claims, “but at the end of the day, when you see happy guests coming back, you feel that all the effort is worth it.”

Boštjan is not new to competitions and his good results earned him a call-up to the Slovenian National Chefs Team: “Becoming a member of this team is every chef’s dream and aspiration. They have given me new knowledge and broadened my circle of friends. In the future, I aim to become a judge and mentor for chefs who are eager to learn new skills.”

His current greatest achievements in cooking competitions include: silver medal at the Villeroy & Bosch World Culinary Championships 2022 in Luxembourg, with the Slovenian National Chefs Team; 1st place in the Slovenian selection for the European Young Chef Award 2023; Biser Mora (Croatia) where he competed every year from 2018 until 2023 and received 5 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 4 bronze medals; Biser Konjica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) where he received 3 gold medals in 2022.

Currently, Boštjan is working at multiple positions, including the media company (Pro Plus) that runs the MasterChef cooking show and provides culinary tips, and Jezeršek, a leading catering company in Slovenia. Moreover, he is in the process of slowly building his own catering business.

At the European Young Chef Award 2023, Boštjan will present an innovative interpretation of the traditional recipe Medenjak (Gingerbread) with walnut kernels and honey milk. He got the inspiration for his dish from a hill nearby his home, where the highest beehive in Slovenia is located, at an altitude of 1699 meters above sea level. He always tries to develop his dishes in a precise way and with local ingredients. That is why he spent almost half a year to put his innovative recipe together, taking the time to find top-quality local suppliers and products.

“I believe that this dish is highly sustainable and healthy, and the bees play a significant role in it,” says Boštjan. “We know that one bee produces one teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime, so we should value them even more. On top of that, the absence of bees would make life on earth impossible.”

“This dish is first and foremost my tribute to the bees and beekeepers who make life run smoothly in terms of pollination and contribute to good, bountiful harvests in the fields of arable farming, fruit growing, floriculture, etc. The dish is simple and complex at the same time, and it may surprise you with interesting flavours.”

About IGCAT’s European Young Chef Award

The European Young Chef Award is an annual competition organised by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (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 7th edition of the European Young Chef Award is organised and promoted by IGCAT and hosted by Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023. The competition will be held at the Lycée Hôtelier Le Touquet on 20-24 November 2023 and is supported by Hauts-de-France 2023 consortium members: Chambre d’Agriculture Hauts de France; CCI Hauts de France; Chambre des Métiers et de l’Artisanat Hauts de France; Hauts de France Tourisme; Plateforme des Organisme du Tourisme; UMIH Union des Métiers et des Industrie de l’Hôtellerie; UniLaSalle; Programme Investissement Avenir; Caisse des dépôts; GIP Forinval Amiens; Région Académique Hauts de France; and Région Hauts de France.

About the World/European Regions of Gastronomy

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.