EYCA 2023_Matias Roisko

Matias Roisko to bring Saimaa’s gastronomy to the EYCA 2023

“My dream is to work with the best chefs around the world and always keep learning and improving my cooking” affirms Matias Roisko, the finalist who will represent Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2024 at the 7th European Young Chef Award.

Matias is an 18-year-old, third-year culinary student from Punkaharju (Savonlinna, Finland), a small town surrounded by clear waters and clean forests from which he gets most of his inspiration in the kitchen.

“My expectations for the European Young Chef Award include getting more experienced in competitive cooking and learning new skills,” he explains.

At the European Young Chef Award 2023, Matias will present an innovative version of Saimaa Fish Soup, a very traditional recipe that has been cooked for decades in the areas surrounding the lake Saimaa. According to the specific location and season, the ingredients and preparation of this dish can vary a lot. Matias will propose an innovation on his grandmother’s recipe.

“In lake Saimaa we have many different fish species that can be used sustainably for cooking. When you fish in Saimaa you have to be aware of the worlds most endangered fresh water seal: the Saimaa Ringed Seal. In my traditional recipe I will proudly use sustainably caught pike-perch, which is fished with the best selective method that is ultimately safe for the ringed seal,” says Matias.

“For the local competition, I caught the fish myself with local filmmaker, photographer, writer and local fisherman Juha “Norppa” (seal) Taskinen who has dedicated his life to protect the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal (https://norppataskinen.fi/en/).”

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.