Winner of the European Young Chef Award 2022 announced!

Pau Sintes Juanico from Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022 has been announced today European Young Chef for 2022. With his dish Menorca-style Aubergines: Simple and Complex, he won the hearts of the international jury chaired by chef Espen Laumann, winner of the 2021 edition from the host region, Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022.

Pau presented a vegetarian dish based on aubergine, using all parts of the vegetable combined with local herbs from the Menorcan coast such as maritime fennel and capers, egg yolks, Mahón-Menorca PDO cheese and honey. Through this recipe he wanted to show that delicious vegetarian dishes can be made with local, traditional products. His plate was an innovation on the traditional Menorcan recipe Alberginies plenes (stuffed aubergines) or Barquetes d’alberginia (Aubergine little boats) that recall the maritime heritage of Menorca.

The jury especially appreciated the explosion of flavours and the incredibly innovative combination of colours and textures. They also appreciated Pau’s interest in reducing food waste, his care and attention to detail, for example using a locally crafted plate and knowledge of local plant varieties.

“It is notable that this is the first time a vegetarian dish has won the competition and an encouraging sign that plants are beginning to recuperate protagonism in cuisine” stated President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD.

The jury congratulated all participants and emphasised that each of them are winners given the level of talent and exceptional presentation seen in every dish.

Nine finalists from across Europe

The competition was held at Strinda High School in Trondheim on 11-12 November 2022 and gathered finalists from 9 awarded European Regions of Gastronomy including: Raúl Gisbert (Catalonia awarded 2016); Beatriz Coelho (Minho awarded 2016); Oliver Sørensen (Aarhus-Central Denmark awarded 2017); Aikaterini Gonidaki (South Aegean awarded 2019); Špela Kuhel (Slovenia awarded 2021); Rúben Lima (Coimbra Region awarded 2021-22); Pau Sintes (Menorca awarded 2022); Ivar Follinglo Moe (Trondheim-Trøndelag awarded 2022); and Pauline Place (Hauts-de-France awarded 2023).

Špela Kuhel from Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021 won the second prize with the dish Backed Cvičkov Stew, while third prize went to Ivar Follinglo Moe from Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022 and his dish Innovation of Fårikål.

Under the theme Innovation on Tradition, on 11 November the young chefs presented and exchanged knowledge about traditional dishes and local food products from their regions. They then competed on 12 November, proposing their innovative interpretation of the traditional recipes.

The international jury

The young chefs’ innovative dishes were evaluated by an international jury of chefs and experts chaired by the winner of the European Young Chef Award 2021, chef Espen Laumann, from Le Bistro (Trondheim, Norway) and including: chef Paul Newman, from Thyme Deli & Bistro (Perthshire, Scotland); chef Sonakshi Kanoria, from Credo restaurant (Trondheim, Norway); chef Johan Rudsby, from Nästgårds and Bua restaurants (Jämtland, Sweden); chef Gaetano Verde, from Charleston restaurant (Sicily, Italy); and Diane Dodd PhD, President of IGCAT.

Besides the young chefs’ technical skills, the jury panel assessed their creativity, their ability to communicate the story of their dishes, together with their capacity to reduce food waste and single-use plastics in the kitchen, as well as ensure a balanced use of meat/fish ingredients and vegetables in their dishes.

The competition was also an opportunity for finalists to learn about different food cultures from across Europe and establish a professional network, while promoting culinary innovation and sustainability using traditional cuisine and local produce.

The Award Ceremony

An award ceremony was held on 12 November at K.U.K (Kjøpmannsgata ung kunst – Kjøpmannsgata Young Art Center) in Trondheim, in the presence of the Head of the Main Committee for Industry of Trøndelag County Authority, Per Olav Skurdal Hopsø.

Finalists joined IGCAT’S Regional Chef Ambassadors network

On 11 November 2022, all finalists to the European Young Chef Award 2022 signed up as IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassadors, committing to proudly and sustainably promote their regions’ food and cultural heritage throughout their future professional career. A shared engagement to highlight gastronomic uniqueness and protect regional biodiversity, by supporting local plant and animal varieties; local producers; and, in general, more environmentally, ethically, socially, culturally and economically sustainable food production and consumption practices.

The young chefs joined the IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassadors network that now gathers 54 European Young Chef Award finalists since its first edition in 2016. This recognition acknowledges the crucial role that the young chefs can play in the conservation and promotion of quality and diverse local products through innovation and creativity.

The signing took place at Strinda High School in Trondheim, in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture and Food of Norway, Sandra Borch who stated: “I welcome all the finalists to Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy 2022. You are here for your excellent skills, but also to become future ambassadors of your regions. You have brought with you the very best produce from home and we look forward to see, smell and taste unique flavours from all over Europe.

“Make the most of this opportunity to establish a network for the future and make new friends. European gastronomy is depending on new generations for new ideas. So, keep up the good work and good luck! We look forward to seeing what you can do!” concluded Borch.

A valuable opportunity to learn more about sustainability in the kitchen

Finalists were hosted by one-Michelin-starred restaurant Credo – the first in Norway to receive a Michelin Green Star for gastronomy and sustainability – where chef and owner, Heidi Bjerkan offered an introduction on how to run a Michelin-starred restaurant according to the 17 UN’s Sustainable Goals.

They also visited The Farm Society which explores and develops solutions for urban and controlled-environment agriculture.

About IGCAT’s European Young Chef Award

The European Young Chef Award is an annual competition organised by 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 6th edition of the European Young Chef Award was organised and promoted by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) and hosted by Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022.

The competition was held with the support of Trondheim Municipality, Trøndelag County Authority, and Innovation Norway. It was sponsored by Danish Bank Norway (main sponsor), ASKO Servering, Bama, and Leroy Seafood Group; and realised in cooperation with Geitmyra Matkultursenter and the Norwegian Chefs Association.

For the European Young Chef Award, IGCAT counts on the continuous support of the official ambassador of the competition, world-renowned, Michelin-starred chef Joan Roca, who has endorsed its principles since the first edition in 2016.

About the World Regions of Gastronomy

Candidate and awarded 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.

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