Mariona Rodà, the young ambassador of Catalonia’s local products

With her reinterpretation of the dish Maduixes amb nata (Strawberries with cream), Mariona Rodà has been selected as Catalonia’s finalist to the European Young Chef Award 2019. The recipe earned her the prize for Best Presentation at the 33rd Catalan Young Chef Award, held on 8 May 2019 at the Hotel-School of Sant Pol de Mar (EUHT StPOL).

Based on the theme Local Products, the competition gathered ten participants from culinary schools and restaurants from all over Catalonia who created their dishes using seasonal ingredients from the region.

President of IGCAT, Dr. Diane Dodd formed part of the competition’s jury, chaired by Michelin-starred chefs Javier and Sergio Torres and including: Executive Director of PRODECA, Ramon Sentmartí; Ariadna Ribas, from the Catalan Tourist Board; Member of the Board of the Acadèmia Catalana de Gastronomia i Nutrició, Rosa Mayordomo; gastronome and member of La Vanguardia’s group “5 a taula”, Josep Vilella; and President of the Executive Board of EUHT StPOL, Ramon Serra.

The jury was particularly impressed by Mariona’s beautifully presented dessert with which the young student from IES Bisbe Sevilla will represent Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016 at the 4th edition of the European Young Chef Award, to be hosted in South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019, on 22-24 October 2019.

The prize for the Best Presentation was awarded by the Municipality of Sant Pol de Mar and presented by Mayoress and European Region of Gastronomy Ambassador for Catalonia, Montserrat Garrido.

The jury announced Oscar Maillo, from Blanc de Mandarin Oriental restaurant, overall winner of the competition and awarded Mariona Sánchez, from Hotel The One Barcelona with the Imagination and Creativity Prize. Finally, they acknowledged Gerard Lorente, from Escola Joviat as Best Technical Skills prize.

The European Young Chef Award is a competition organised and promoted by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) in collaboration with culinary arts institutions in the Regions of Gastronomy.

The European Young Chef Award gathers finalists of regional contests from around Europe to present and exchange knowledge about traditional dishes and local food products from their regions and then compete proposing their innovative reinterpretation of traditional recipes, judged by star chefs and international experts.

About the European Region of Gastronomy

Candidate and awarded Regions of Gastronomy from Europe, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness and share the long-term aim to: promote a better quality of life in European regions; highlight distinctive food cultures; educate for better health and sustainability; nurture creativity; improve tourism standards; and stimulate gastronomic innovation.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health 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 provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European Region of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.