Catalonia’s finalist selected for the European Young Chef Award 2018

The European Young Chef Award 2018 has its first finalist from Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016. His name is Eric Díaz, from Joviat hospitality school (Barcelona) and he is the winner of the Catalan Young Chef Contest (Concurs Cuina Jove de Catalunya) held in its 32nd edition on 25 April 2018 at the University College of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts (EUHTStPOL), in Sant Pol de Mar, Barcelona.

The jury was particularly impressed by his dish Pollastre a la Manresaneta (Chicken cooked in the Manresa’s Way) through which he excellently interpreted the theme of the competition Innovating Traditional Cuisine. In particular, the panel appreciated Eric’s storytelling about his recipe.

President of IGCAT, Dr. Diane Dodd participated as member of the jury, chaired by Catalan Michelin-starred chef, Oriol Castro and including: President of the Executive Board of EUHTStPOL, Ramon Serra; Board Member of the Acadèmia Catalana de Gastronomia i Nutrició, Rosa Mayordomo; gastronome and member of 5 a taula group of the newspaper La Vanguardia, Josep Vilella; Dean of the University of Girona, Dr. Quim Salvi i Mas; Vice-Dean of the University of Girona, Dr. José Antonio Donaire; and Fernando Toda, representing Saber y Sabor magazine.

9 young chefs, including both students from different hospitality schools in Catalonia and young professionals at the beginning of their careers took part in the competition and tried to win the jury’s hearts by proposing innovative versions of traditional recipes from Catalan cuisine elaborated with genuine, seasonal products from the region.

A concept that goes hand in hand with the European Young Chef Award’s philosophy and aims: to promote innovations on traditional cuisine; to highlight sustainable food cultures; and, to create future chef ambassadors for the regions and local food products.

Besides Eric Díaz, celebrated as overall winner of the contest, the jury also awarded José Cuesta, from The One Barcelona hotel with the prize for the Best Skill and Elaboration Technique; Melvin Alvarado, from EUHTStPOL, with the award for Creativity; and Daniel Martínez, from EHTB Barcelona for the Best Presentation.

Chef Oriol Castro congratulated all the participants for their hard work and the excellent skills that they demonstrated, encouraging them to be confident in their capacities and to continue to pursue their aspirations to become professional chefs.

Mayoress of the Municipality of Sant Pol de Mar, Montserrat Garrido concluded the event stating that all the young chefs could consider themselves as winners and inviting them to continue to take pleasure in their job. She recognised it is a hard profession and wished participants the best for their future careers.

The European Young Chef Award 2018, organised by IGCAT and hosted by the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), will be held on 25-26 November 2018 in Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018. The competition, which counts with the support of chef Joan Roca as official ambassador, will gather finalists from the awarded and candidate European Regions of Gastronomy.

The participation of Eric Díaz in the European competition will be sponsored by Prodeca and the Catalan Tourist Board.


IGCAT is a non-profit organisation working in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. Through its worldwide network of experts, IGCAT aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating and supporting local leaders in regions to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. 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 Food Experiences of the Year and the Food Film Festival project.

About the European Region of Gastronomy

The European Region of Gastronomy Platform aims to contribute to better quality of life in European regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability and stimulating gastronomic innovation. Candidate regions are invited to join a knowledge-exchange platform of European regions in order to further cross-border collaborations and develop shared initiatives.

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