Winner of the European Young Chef Award 2023 announced_Website

Winner of the European Young Chef Award 2023 announced!

Boštjan Volk from Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021 was announced European Young Chef for 2023 on 22 November. With his dish Honey Hug, he captivated the international jury chaired by Michelin-starred chef Alexandre Gauthier, official ambassador of Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023.

Boštjan presented a dessert based on three simple ingredients: honey, pear and walnuts, all provided by local producers: “This dish is first and foremost my tribute to the bees and beekeepers who make life run smoothly in terms of pollination and contribute to good bountiful harvests in the fields of arable farming, fruit growing, and floriculture. The dish is simple and complex at the same time, and it may surprise you with interesting flavours.”

The jury noted that the dish was technically brilliant, delicious and full of different textures, using only three ingredients sourced locally. Boštjan’s message about the importance of bees and honey was moving, his presentation and plating beautiful and he had not one drop of food waste!

The jury congratulated all participants for the high level of sustainability and great emphasis on local producers that have contributed to the quality of each dish. With this level of cooperation everyone is a winner!

Nine finalists from across Europe

The competition was held at the Lycée Hôtelier du Touquet on 20-24 November 2023 and gathered finalists from 9 awarded and candidate European Regions of Gastronomy including:

Crisitina Pons from Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022 won second prize with the dish Records (Memories). The jury noted that this dish was beautifully and emotionally presented on a hot plate that kept the complex squid roll warm. All the flavours of the traditional dish were intensified in this sophisticated innovation. The surprising aspect of breaking the potato lattice to eat this dish added to its charm.

Third prize went to Sander Mollerup from Central Denmark, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2017 and his dish The Danish West Coast. The jury thought that this delicately and originally plated dish was a piece of art. A crunchy crown provided the intense seaweed and fish flavours that took them to the sea and reminded them of the traditional dish, while the potato and mustard base created a beautiful balance.

Under the theme Innovation on Tradition, on 21 November the finalists presented and shared knowledge about traditional dishes and local food products from their regions. They then competed on 22 November, proposing their innovative interpretation of the traditional recipes.

Therefore, the competition was 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 international jury

The young chefs’ innovative dishes were evaluated by an international jury of chefs and experts chaired by, chef Alexandre Gauthier, from La Grenouillere restaurant in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil (awarded 2 stars and 1 green star by the Michelin Guide) and official ambassador of Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023. The panel also included:

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. Moreover, special attention was paid to the finalists’ knowledge of local products and producers from their regions.

The Award Ceremony

An award ceremony was held on 22 November at Le Grand Hotel in Le Touquet, attended by Daniel Fasquelle, Mayor of Le Touquet and Regional Councillor (Région Hauts-de-France); François Dhalluin, Project manager within the Tourism Engineering and Attractiveness Mission (Région Hauts-de-France); Jean-Marie Sani, Delegate for European and international relations and cooperation at the Academic Region Hauts-de-France; Stéphanie Guerin, Operational Director of the Campus des Métiers et des Qualifications d’Excellence, Tourisme et Innovation; Laurent Macquet, Head of School of the Lycée Hôtelier du Touquet; Pierre Nouchi, President of UMIH; chef Alexandre Gauthier; and pastry chef Sandrine Baumann.

Daniel Fasquelle remarked that: “I am delighted to have hosted the European Young Chef Award in Le Touquet-Paris Plage and to be here with you for the award ceremony. Hauts-de-France is the first European Region of Gastronomy in France, and it’s working hard to promote IGCAT values and raise awareness among our community, and especially young people, of the importance of protecting and promoting our assets in terms of food, culture, and sustainable development.

“The commitment of our young people is our future, and this competition has been a fantastic opportunity for all finalists to give visibility to their profession and training skills. I wish all finalists the best of luck for the future, whether they win or not tonight,” he concluded.

President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD expressed her appreciation of the culinary delights of Hauts-de-France, noting that without great products you can’t have great gastronomy. Hauts-de-France is widely known as the garden of France and this is undoubtedly why many talented chefs are making this incredible region their home.

She then addressed the finalists to the European Young Chef Award: “You have showed us what amazing talent you have and that you really understood the importance of safeguarding and give visibility to your regions’ cultural and food diversity. The jury had a very difficult task to make sure that the best dish wins tonight. The dish that really tells the story about the region, that highlights local products, and that addresses sustainability. We need chefs like you to lead the way forward for future generations,” she concluded.

Chef Alexandre Gauthier applauded the high level of the competition noting that the task of creating innovative dishes rooted in the regional gastronomy was not an easy one: “Each one of the finalists came with a part of themselves, a part of their regions, a part of their hearts and shared it with us. Congratulations to all nine of them who were courageous enough to embark on this journey which is much more than cooking: it’s about bringing people together.”

The award ceremony was hosted by Elizabeth Wautlet, who also moderated the livestreaming of the European Young Chef Award 2023 together with Diane Dodd.

On 21 November 2022, all finalists to the European Young Chef Award 2023 signed up as IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassadors, committing to proudly and sustainably promote their regions’ food and cultural heritage throughout their future professional career.

After the competition, the finalists met pastry chef Sandrine Baumann, Founder of the healthy pastry shop Pâtisserie Santé and author of the book Pâtisserie Santé: Reconciling greed and chronic diseases. An advocate of a healthy pastry-making that is accessible to all, she explained how pastries that contain less sugar and fat can still be delicious, while helping tackle the current global health crisis.

The European Young Chef Award 2023 programme will conclude on 23 November with a visit to the Hauts-de-France region to discover the local gastronomy and producers, including Fromagerie des Freres Bernard in Wierre Effroy, and Brasserie des 2 Caps at the Ferme de Belle Dalle in Tardinghen.

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.

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.

The 7th edition of the European Young Chef Award is organised and promoted by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT), and hosted by Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023.

The competition was held with the support of the Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023 consortium including: Région Hauts-de-FranceChambre Régionale d’Agriculture Hauts-de-France; Chambre de Commerce et de l’Industrie Hauts-de-France; Chambre Régionale de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Hauts-de-France; POT Hauts-de-France; Union des Métiers et des Industrie de l’Hôtellerie (UMIH); UniLaSalle; Programme Investissement Avenir, Caisse des dépôts; GIP Forinval Amiens; Campus des Métiers et des Qualifications d’Excellence, Tourisme et Innovation; and Région Académique 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.

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