The program for the European Young Chef Award 2023 will end on November 23 with a visit to the Hauts-de-France region to discover gastronomy and local producers, including the Fromagerie des Frères Bernard in Wierre Effroy, and the Brasserie des 2 Caps at Belle’s Farm. Slab in Tardinghen.
Boštjan Volk from Slovenia, European region of Gastronomy awarded 2021 has been announced Young European Chef for 2023 on November 22. With his dish Honey hughe won over the international jury chaired by the starred chef Alexandre Gauthierofficial ambassador of Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023.
Boštjan presented a dessert made from three simple ingredients: honey, pear and walnuts, all supplied by local producers: “This dish is above all my tribute to the bees and beekeepers who ensure the smooth running of life in terms of pollination and contribute to good, abundant harvests in the fields of field crops, fruit growing and floriculture. The dish is both simple and complex, and it may surprise you with interesting flavors.
The judges noted that the dish was technically brilliant, delicious and full of different textures, using just three locally sourced ingredients. Boštjan’s message about the importance of bees and honey was moving, his presentation and plating were beautiful and he didn’t have a drop of food waste.
The jury congratulated all participants for the high level of sustainability and the great importance given to local producers who contributed to the quality of each dish. With this level of cooperation, everyone wins.
Nine finalists from across Europe
The competition took place at Lycée Hôtelier du Touquet from November 20 to 24, 2023 and brought together the finalists from 9 award-winning and candidate European gastronomy regions, including:
- Osvaldo Sejas (Catalonia awarded in 2016 and, more recently, World Region of Gastronomy awarded in 2025 – Spain)
- Sander Mollerup (The center of Denmark awarded in 2017 – Denmark)
- Dimitrios Mavropoulos (South Aegean awarded in 2019 – Greece)
- Boštjan Volk (Slovenia awarded in 2021)
- Cristina Pons (Menorca awarded in 2022 – Spain)
- Oskar Krauss (Trondheim-Trøndelag awarded 2022 – Norway)
- Louis Barbier (Hauts-de-France awarded 2023 – France)
- Matias Roisko (Saimaa awarded in 2024 – Finland)
- Alessia Fischella (Sicily 2025 candidate – Italy)
Crisitina Pons from Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022, won second prize with this dish Records (Memories). The judges noted that this dish was beautifully and emotionally presented on a hot plate which kept the complex squid roll warm. All the flavors of the traditional dish have been intensified in this sophisticated innovation. The surprising aspect of breaking the potato lattice to eat this dish adds to its charm.
The third prize was awarded to Sander Mollerup from Central Denmark, European gastronomy region awarded in 2017 and his dish The Danish west coast. The jury considered this dish with its delicate and original presentation to be a work of art. A crunchy crown brought the intense flavors of seaweed and fish that transported them to the sea and reminded them of the traditional dish, while the potato and mustard base created a lovely balance.
Under the themeInnovation on Tradition, on November 21, the finalists presented and shared their knowledge about traditional dishes and local food products from their regions. They then competed on November 22 by offering their innovative interpretation of traditional recipes.
The competition was therefore an opportunity for the finalists to discover different food cultures from across Europe and establish a professional network, while promoting culinary innovation and sustainability using traditional cuisine and local products.
The international jury
The young chefs’ innovative dishes were evaluated by an international jury of chefs and experts chaired by chef Alexandre Gauthier, of La Grenouillère restaurant in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil (awarded 2 stars and 1 green star in the Michelin Guide) and official ambassador of Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023. The jury also included:
- IGCAT expert Wendy Barriechef, director of the Scottish Food Guide & Scottish Cheese Trail, as well as leader of the Slow Food Ark of Taste Scotland and the Cooks’ Alliance (Scotland);
- Amand P. Verannemanchef and owner of Auberge Chez Amand in Gozo, Candidate European Gastronomy Region 2026 (Malta);
- Vunić Teaco-owner and pastry chef at the restaurant Žijavicain Mošćenička draga (Kvarner, Candidate European Gastronomy Region 2026 – Croatia);
- Pau Sintéswinner of the European Young Chef Award 2022 and chef de cuisine of Hotel Cristine Bedfor in Mahon (Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022 – Spain); And
- IGCAT expert Paula Fradéfounder and president of OH – Center of Culture and Tradition (Oliveira do Hospital) and doctoral researcher in food heritage, cultures and identities at the University University of Coimbra (European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021 – Portugal).
In addition to the technical skills of the young chefs, the jury evaluated their creativity, their ability to communicate the story of their dishes, as well as their ability to reduce food waste and single-use plastics in the kitchen, as well as to ensure balanced use of meat/fish and vegetable ingredients in their dishes. Furthermore, particular attention was paid to getting to know the finalists about local products and producers in their regions.
The awards ceremony
An awards ceremony was held on November 22 at The Grand Hotel in Le Touquetin the presence of Daniel Fasquellemayor of Le Touquet and regional councilor (Hauts-de-France region); François DhalluinProject manager within the Engineering and Tourist Attractiveness Mission (Hauts-de-France Region); Jean-Marie Sanidelegate for European and international relations and cooperation at the Hauts-de-France academic region; Stéphanie Guerinoperational director of the Campus of Professions and Qualifications of Excellence, Tourism and Innovation; Laurent Macquetschool director of the Lycée Hôtelier du Touquet; Pierre Nouchi, President of the UMIH; chief Alexandre Gauthier; and pastry chef Sandrine Baumann.
Daniel Fasquelle noted that: “I am delighted to have hosted the European Young Chef Award at Le Touquet-Paris Plage and to be among you for the awards ceremony. Hauts-de-France is the first European Region of Gastronomy in France and it works to promote the values of IGCAT and raise awareness among our community, and particularly young people, of the importance of protecting and enhancing our assets in terms of food, culture. and sustainable development.
“The engagement of our young people is our future, and this competition was a fantastic opportunity for all the finalists to give visibility to their profession and their training skills. I wish all the finalists good luck for the future, whether they win tonight or not,” he concluded.
President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd, Ph.D. expressed his appreciation for the culinary delights of Hauts-de-France, emphasizing that without good products, there is no great gastronomy. Hauts-de-France is widely known as the garden of France and this is undoubtedly why many talented chefs have made this incredible region their home.
She then addressed the finalists of the European Young Chef Award: “You showed us what incredible talent you had and that you really understood the importance of safeguarding and giving visibility to the cultural and food diversity of your regions. The jury had the very difficult task of ensuring that the best dish wins tonight. The dish that truly tells the story of the region, highlights local produce and addresses sustainability. We need leaders like you to lead the way for future generations,” she concludes.
Chief Alexandre Gauthier praised the high level of the competition, emphasizing that the task of creating innovative dishes rooted in regional gastronomy was not an easy task: “Each of the finalists came with a part of themselves, a part of their region, a part of their heart and shared it with us. Congratulations to all nine who had the courage to embark on this journey that goes way beyond cooking: it’s about bringing people together.
The awards ceremony was chaired by Elisabeth Wautletwho also hosted the live broadcast of the European Young Chef Award 2023 with Diane Dodd.
On November 21, 2022, all finalists of the European Young Chef Award 2023have signed up as IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassadors, pledging to proudly and sustainably promote their region’s food and cultural heritage throughout their future professional careers.
After the competition, the finalists met the pastry chef Sandrine BaumannFounder of the healthy pastry Pâtisserie Santé and author of the book Pastry Health: Reconciling indulgence and chronic illnesses. A supporter of healthy baking accessible to all, she explains how less sugary and less fatty pastries can remain delicious, while helping to address the current global health crisis.
Vicki is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in-Chief. She is also responsible for daily operations and financial policy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism business administration from the Technical University of Athens and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
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