CFWI chef tastes the best that world has to offer at the Young Chef Olympiad

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The world’s best student chefs meet under one roof in India. Scott Baechler (end left) and the judges celebrate the 2018 medal winners.

Chef professor Scott Baechler had the honour of judging at the 2018 Young Chef Olympiad from January 28 to February 3 in India.

The Young Chef Olympiad is the world’s largest culinary Olympiad for student chefs, bringing more than 60 countries together to highlight skills and celebrate culinary education. Spanning one week across four cities (New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata), chefs are put to the test through various culinary challenges. Launched in 2015, the Olympiad is put on by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM).

This wasn’t a flash in the pan situation for Baechler, as he and Niagara College have previously appeared at the international culinary competition and have tasted success, making the podium on consecutive occasions in both years NC entered. In 2016, Daniella Germond of St. Catharines – who, at the time, was a student Cook Apprentice student and a recent Culinary Management grad (2014), as well as a member of the CFWI’s Junior Culinary Team Canada (2013 to 2016) – won the competition and took home the coveted $10,000 prize. In 2017, Baechler accompanied Culinary Management student Selah Schmoll to India where she captured bronze.

Baechler was contacted by the head of the IIHM to be involved at the 2018 competition. As the College wasn’t intending to send students for the upcoming event, Baechler was glad to serve as a judge. While this wouldn’t be his first time judging, it was the first time he’s judged at a competition of this scale. Outside of culinary proficiency, Baechler and the rest of the judges looked for preparation and station management.

Baechler takes a selfie with fellow chef judge, Boris Leung.

“IIHM and YCO have made 2018 Chef Olympiad the best one yet and one to watch,” said Baechler. “In addition to being an event that brings the world’s culinary student competitors together, it has brought forward great discussions on global issues in the production of food, health and nutrition and industry trends.

“A special thanks goes out to Dr. Suborno Bose and his elite team that stretches across India and Thailand, to put such an event together is a massive undertaking of hidden hours and many hands at work,” he added.

Malaysia took the top marks on the podium this year, a country Baechler says is one to take notice of for their rising level of talent. He said he would recommend that his colleagues and students be involved in the event in the future, due to its magnitude and educational value, if given the opportunity.

In addition to being a chef professor at the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, Baechler is a core member of Culinary Team Canada, a Certified Chef de Cuisine, and an international judge for the World Association of Chefs Societies.

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