The 4th edition of International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) concluded on Saturday, February 03, 2018 with Lai Jia Yi from Malaysia winning the top spot and Indian student chef Surya Sekhar Roy Choudhury claiming the second position. The third place was shared by Kevin McCafferty from Scotland and Henry Lee from Hong Kong. Conceptualized and executed by IIHM, the event was held in Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, and Kolkata over a period of six days.
Touted as the "World's biggest culinary battle of student chefs", the competition was judged by eminent celebrity chefs and Michelin-starred winners including Sanjeev Kapoor, Ranveer Brar, John Wood, Chris Galvin, Scott Baechler, and Enzo Oliveri.
Lai Jia Yi was awarded the YCO 2018 Trophy and a cash prize of USD 10,000 by Sanjeev Kapoor, chairman of the YCO 2018 jury David Foskett and Suborno Bose, founder and chief mentor of IndiSmart Group and IIHM. "I am very excited to win this. It is my first time here and it has been a very good experience at Young Chef Olympiad," said Ji Yi.
Surya Choudhury, a student of IIHM Kolkata, became the first Indian contestant to make it to the podium at YCO. "It is the first time that we've got the trophy back home. It is an honor. I hoped I could live up to the expectations I had on my shoulders to perform. It is a superb feeling. The exposure like this, meeting chefs like John Wood and Chris Galvin, makes you want to push yourself to greater heights," said Choudhury.
The contestants from 43 countries pitted their skills in technique, hygiene, and other key areas while using the same ingredients to come up with the best dish possible. "I would appeal to all people to give your best and make this event a bigger success next year. The competition in 2018 was at least twice as big as last year and that's a great achievement," said Sanjeev Kapoor.