“I believe that curiosity, the desire to discover and create, as well as collective consciousness are the engines that move our planet” affirms Eric Montes i Fort, the young talent that will represent Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016 at the European Young Chef Award 2021.
A 19-year-old from Vilanova i la Geltrú, Eric grew up between ranches and walks along the shores of the Garraf, surrounded by thyme, rosemary and palm thickets. On Saturdays, he used to wander around the local market and end up watching the boats entering the port.
His culinary curiosity awakened when he was 12. A few years later he started holding small events with the help of the municipal markets and Origen Garraf at the Vilanova’s November Fair, where he started to deepen his knowledge of Catalan gastronomy.
At 16, he enrolled in Sitges cooking school and started to participate in competitions. He also had the opportunity to do an internship at restaurant Drac de Calella, located on the Maresme coast. After that, he landed at ESHT Jesuïtes Sarrià-Sant Ignasi school where he finished a course in Cooking and Gastronomy, and was awarded a scholarship by the Celler de Can Roca and BBVA.
Currently, he is studying Kitchen Management and combines school with working at catering events around Europe.
At the EYCA 2021, Eric will present an innovative reinterpretation of the recipe Catalan Surf and Turf: Chicken with Prawns, which reflects the Catalan culinary tradition of combining land products with seafood in a same dish, as a result of the century-long trades between the people of the coast and the people of the mountains.
About the 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 5th 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 Municipality of Braga (Portugal) in Minho, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016. The competition will be held in the renovated Municipal Market of Braga on 23-24 November 2021 and will gather finalists from 10 European Regions of Gastronomy.
About the European and World Regions of Gastronomy
Candidate and awarded European and World 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; drive environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; support balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlight and support expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practises; and contribute to community health and well-being.
IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to protect and promote distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguard 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 European and the World Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European and World Regions of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the European Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers and the Food Film Menu.