The young ambassador of Minho’s gastronomy

The winner of the Minho Young Chef Award to fly the flag of Minho’s gastronomy at the European Young Chef Award 2018.

The cuisine from Minho, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016 has its young ambassador for the European Young Chef Award 2018. Beatriz Costa, from Didaxis Cooperative School of Vale S. Cosme, in Vila Nova de Famalicão (Braga, Portugal), elaborated an innovative and surprising version of the Arroz de Vinha d’Alhos, a typical dish from Minho region that earned her the first prize at the 1st Minho Young Chef Awards. The competition was held at AESAcademy school in Vila Nova de Famalicão, on 25 May 2018, and gathered 11 participants from different culinary schools in the region.

The recipe, based on rice cooked in a mixture of water, stewed entrecote and red wine, is “a tribute” Beatriz explained, that was inspired by her grandmother and the fado’s nights at her home.

Crucial elements for her crowning by the jury were the use of local seasonal products and her “courage in choosing and combining these ingredients” as reported by renowned Portuguese chef and owner of Ferrugem restaurant in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Renato Cunha selected as official Ambassador of the Minho Young Chef Awards and jury member for the competition. “It’s a true dish from Minho, full of flavour and character” he added, pointing out that “all the plates presented were very good and it hasn’t been easy to choose the first place. But” Beatriz’s dish “represents exactly the region’s cuisine.”

President of IGCAT, Dr. Diane Dodd joined the jury panel that elected Beatriz as Minho Young Chef for 2018 and that furthermore included: chef at A Cozinha restaurant, António Loureiro; Bruno Almeida, from the Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes (Commission for Viticulture of the Region of Vinhos Verdes); Olga Matos, from the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC); and Professor at IPVC and IGCAT Expert, Carlos Fernandes, representing in this occasion the Confraria dos Gastrónomos do Minho (Order of the Gastronomes of Minho).

The jury rewarded Beatriz’s commitment to the competition and hard training to elaborate a winning dish. “I’ve been dining Arroz de Vinha d’Alhos every single day” said Beatriz, who decided to become a chef since she was seven years old.

Luís Leite, from Amar Terra Verde’s school and André Freire, from ETAP school, won second and third prize respectively, both presenting interesting dishes inspired by the local tradition.

Beatriz Costa will join finalists from all the European Regions of Gastronomy in the European Young Chef Award 2018, that will take place in Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018, on 25-27 November. About her participation in the European contest, she commented “I want to show that Minho region has good dishes. Representing my region is a dream. I’m very happy.”

Organised during the 5th IGCAT Annual Experts Meeting and 1st International Congress of Gastronomy and Cultural Heritage, 23-26 May 2018, the Minho Young Chef Awards represented an opportunity to give visibility to the regional gastronomy. “The bet on the training of young chefs and the creation of events such as the Minho Young Chef Award are points that help give more quality to local cuisine” explained Carlos Fernandes, initiator of Minho’s candidature for the European Region of Gastronomy title.

The Minho Young Chef Awards was organised by Consortium Minho IN, gathering the three Intermunicipal Communities of Alto Minho, Cávado and Ave, with the support of IGCAT and the European Region of Gastronomy Platform.

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.


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 Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European Regions of Gastronomy Platform. The Institute has also developed the European Young Chef Award, the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Food Experiences of the Year and the Food Film Festivals project.


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