European Young Chef Award 2023


The European Young Chef Award 2023 was organised and promoted by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) and Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023, and was held at the Lycée Hôtelier du Touquet in Le Touquet, on 20-24 November 2023.

Nine finalists took part in the 2023 edition representing 9 different awarded or candidate World/European Regions of Gastronomy: Osvaldo Sejas, from Catalonia 2016, more recently awarded World Region of Gastronomy 2025 (Spain); Sander Mollerup, from Central Denmark 2017 (Denmark); Dimitrios Mavropoulos, from South Aegean 2019 (Greece); Boštjan Volk, from Slovenia 2021; Cristina Pons, from Menorca 2022 (Spain); Oskar Krauss, from Trondheim-Trøndelag 2022 (Norway); Louis Barbier, from Hauts-de-France 2023 (France); Matias Roisko, from Saimaa 2024 (Finland); and Alessia Fisichella, from Sicily candidate 2025 (Italy).

European Young Chef Award 2023_All finalists

The competition was organised on two consecutive days under the theme Innovation on Tradition, whereby finalists were asked to innovate traditional recipes from their regions by using local seasonal products.

On the first day, the finalists were welcomed by Head of School of the Lycée Hôtelier du Touquet, Laurent Macquet and President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD who gave a presentation on the importance of protecting and promoting food diversity, as well as the crucial role that young chef play to ensure a sustainable food future. They then signed a protocol agreement to become IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassadors, committing to proudly and sustainably promote their regions’ food and cultural heritage throughout their future professional career.

European Young Chef Award 2023_Signing of IGCAT Chef Ambassador Agreement

Afterwards, the finalists shared knowledge about the traditional gastronomy and local food products from their regions by preparing and presenting the chosen traditional recipes. This first cooking round was a warm-up for the young chefs to get familiar with the cooking stations and for the jury to taste the traditional dishes. 

European Young Chef Award 2023_Preparation of traditional dish

On the second day, the finalists presented their innovative dishes to an international jury of experts chaired by Michelin-starred chef Alexandre Gauthier, from La Grenouillere restaurant, and official ambassador of Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023, aided by first chef at La Grenouillere, Alix Marquant.

The panel included: IGCAT expert Wendy Barrie, cook, director of the Scottish Food Guide & Scottish Cheese Trail, as well as leader of Scotland’s Slow Food Ark of Taste and Cooks Alliance (Scotland); chef Amand P. Veranneman, chef and owner of Auberge Chez Amand in Gozo, European Region of Gastronomy candidate 2026 (Malta); chef Tea Vunić, co-owner and pastry chef at restaurant Zijavica, in Mošćenička draga (Kvarner, European Region of Gastronomy candidate 2026 – Croatia); chef Pau Sintes, winner of the European Young Chef Award 2022 and head chef at of Cristine Bedfor Boutique Hotel in Mahon (Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022 – Spain); and IGCAT expert Paula Frade, founder and president of OH – Center for Culture and Tradition (Oliveira do Hospital) and PHD researcher in Food Heritage, Cultures and Identities at the University of Coimbra (European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021 – Portugal).

The European Young Chef Award 2023 was moderated by President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD and Elizabeth Wautlet, from Clapcom company.

European Young Chef Award 2023_Jury and moderators

Chef Alexandre Gauthier applauded the high level of the competition noting that the task of creating innovative dishes rooted in the regional gastronomy was not an easy one: “Each one of the finalists came with a part of themselves, a part of their regions, a part of their hearts and shared it with us. Congratulations to all nine of them who were courageous enough to embark on this journey which is much more than cooking: it’s about bringing people together.”

European Young Chef Award 2023_Winning dish_Honey HugThe winner of the European Young Chef Award 2023 was Boštjan Volk from Slovenia 2021 who presented the dish Honey Hug, innovating on the traditional recipe Medenjak (Gingerbread) with walnut kernels and honey milk. Based on three simple ingredients: honey, pear and walnuts, all provided by local producers, Honey Hug was thew first dessert to obtain first prize since the first edition of the European Young Chef Award in 2016. The jury noted that the dish was technically brilliant, delicious and full of different textures. Boštjan’s message about the importance of bees and honey was moving, his presentation and plating beautiful and he had not one drop of food waste.

European Young Chef Award 2023_Second Prize_RecordsCristina Pons from Menorca 2022 won second prize with her dish Records (Memories), an innovative interpretation of the traditional recipe Calamars plens. The jury noted that this dish was beautifully and emotionally presented on a hot plate that kept the complex squid roll warm. All the flavours of the traditional dish were intensified in this sophisticated innovation. 

European Young Chef Award 2023_Third Prize_The Danish West CoastThird prize went to Sander Mollerup from Central Denmark and his dish The Danish West Coast. For the jury, this delicately and originally plated dish was a piece of art. A crunchy crown provided the intense seaweed and fish flavours that took them to the sea and reminded them of the traditional dish, while the potato and mustard base created a beautiful balance.

The award ceremony was held on 22 November at the Grand Hotel in Le Touquet, in the presence of Daniel Fasquelle, Mayor of Le Touquet and Regional Councillor (Région Hauts-de-France); François Dhalluin, Project manager within the Tourism Engineering and Attractiveness Mission (Région Hauts-de-France); Jean-Marie Sani, Delegate for European and international relations and cooperation at the Academic Region Hauts-de-France; Stéphanie Guerin, Operational Director of the Campus des Métiers et des Qualifications d’Excellence, Tourisme et Innovation; Laurent Macquet, Head of School of the Lycée Hôtelier du Touquet; and Pierre Nouchi, President of UMIH.

European Young Chef Award 2023_Winner and runners-up

The European Young Chef Award 2023 was also an opportunity for the finalists to get to know local chefs and producers and learn about the gastronomy of Hauts-de-France.

European Young Chef Award 2023_Sandrine Baumann      European Young Chef Award 2023_Visit to Fromagerie des Freres Bernard

On 22 November, they met pastry chef Sandrine Baumann, Founder of the healthy pastry shop Pâtisserie Santé and author of the book Pâtisserie Santé: Reconciling greed and chronic diseases. An advocate of a healthy pastry-making that is accessible to all, she explained how pastries that contain less sugar and fat can still be delicious, while helping tackle the current global health crisis. On 23 November they visited the Fromagerie des Freres Bernard in Wierre Effroy, and the Brasserie des 2 Caps at the Ferme de Belle Dalle in Tardinghen.

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The European Young Chef Award 2023 was organised by IGCAT and hosted by

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With the support of

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