The winners of the Young Chef Young Waiter 2020 competition have been announced. In this feature, we’ll be taking a closer look at who won what and share the thoughts of the judges’ and people behind the renowned competition, which lauds the best young talent in the hospitality industry.
The annual Young Chef Young Waiter competition was first established in 1979 to discover the very best young talent in the hospitality industry and supports the Springboard Charity’s FutureChef and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Adopt a School.
On the 21st of July, the winners of the annual competition were revealed at one of London’s most renowned venues, the Dorchester. What follows is a summary of who the winners and finalists were and the thoughts of the judges and people behind the competition.
The winner of the UK Young Chef of the Year 2021
Head chef judge Theo Randall announced that Peter Meechan of Gleneagles was the winner of the UK Young Chef award with second place going to Alexandra Henderson from The Lansdowne Club and third place was Valère Ruiz of 14 Hills.
UK Young Waiter of the Year 2021
Headwaiter judge Simon King announced the UK winner as Florian David from The Waterside Inn, in second place was Hellie Honney from The Gleneagles Hotel and third place went to Declan Wilkins of The Hand and Flowers.
Theo Randall (above) said: “It was a pleasure to judge YCYW again and made me proud of how much young talent is bursting through at such a difficult time. Peter Meechan is a natural cook with outstanding ability, the dishes he created were not just perfectly cooked, but the skill he showed in preparation was a joy to watch.
He is currently working at the legendary Gleneagles Hotel, which has helped develop another star of the future. I wish Peter all the success he deserves and looks forward to seeing this talented young man reach the pinnacle of our beloved industry.”
Young Chef Young Waiter China & South East Asia Winners
Chairwoman of YCYW China & South East Asia Ching-He Huang announced that Tibor Palasti (below) of The Sushi Bar Harrods was the winner. In second place was Qing Lee Chen of Imperial Treasure place was Kevin Hoang of Lu Ban.
Ching He Huang said: “Young Chef Tibor Pilasti demonstrated a great attitude and passion, exhibiting incredible skill for his craft. It was an absolute pleasure for all the judges to watch him cook and taste his delicious dishes, which were almost faultless.”
Headwaiter judge of YCYW China & South East Asia Andy Downton announced that Marie Bouquet (above) of TĪNG Restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London was the winner. In second place was Simone Rizzo from TĪNG Restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London and third place was Sabrina Aquilina of TĪNG Restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London.
Simon King (below) said: “I was once again delighted with the standard of the finalists, all of which did brilliantly. What made Florian stand out was his attention to detail, consistency and composure throughout. He was never knocked off his stride, which allowed his passion and personality shine through, undoubtedly a star in the making!”
Managing Director of YCYW Sean Valentine FIH said: “What an absolute pleasure to rerun the YCYW competition in 2020. The standard of contestants has been exceptional from both the waiting and chef applicants. I want to thank all our partners, judges and venues for their support to help make YCYW 2020 a very special competition. I am very excited about 2021 finals being held in Dubai at the Expo event on the UK Pavilion.”
Young Chef Young Waiter Competition Prizes
- The overall winning Chef and Waiter won a Mercedes-Benz A-Class including insurance for a year.
- Recipe box company and YCYW Awards partner The Cookaway is offering the winning chef the chance to collaborate on a limited-edition menu. The Cookaway currently has a number of leading chefs on its platform, including former MasterChef finalists Jack Lucas, Claire Hutchings and Sara Danesin and MasterChef winners Irini Tzortzoglou and Ping Coombes.
- Frerejean Frères has offered the second prize winners an all-expenses-paid overnight stay in their Maison and winery located in the Grand Cru village of Avize, Champagne, where Mr Frerejean-Taittinger will host them.
- Third place winners received an eight-course tasting menu for two supplied by Ruth Hansom at The Princess of Shoreditch.
- The YCYW UK chef finalists all received a handmade 5K Damascus steel utility knife from 5 Knives.
The YCYW China & South East Asia winners won a week’s work experience at the Wynn hotels in Macao, which includes accommodation. This will be at their array of restaurants, including Wing Lei Palace (Michelin 1 Star and Asia 50 Best ) and Sichuan Moon By Andre Chiang (2 Michelin Stars) at Wynn Palace; Wing Lei Heen (2 Michelin Stars), Mizumi (2 Michelin Stars) and Golden Flower (2 Michelin Stars) at Wynn Macau.
They will also win a pair of Premium Economy return tickets (London to Asia) from EVA Air. Plus £500 spending money, kindly donated by Lee Kum Kee.
Robert Walton MBE (L), Chef Lee Qing Chen and Ching He Huang (R).
Chairman of YCYW Robert Walton MBE said: “I’m delighted that we have finally been able to conclude our 2020 final in spectacular fashion. This has been a very tough year for hospitality, yet there are fantastic opportunities ahead for our talented young finalists in hospitality. In addition, it is the first year of our YCYW China & South East Asia event, which is our first step to a truly global competition.
I’m looking forward to the 2021 YCYW final, which will take place in November at the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in the UAE. The new partnership with the Department for International Trade takes Young Chef Young Waiter 2021 to a global audience, making it more exciting than ever for our competitors.”
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