For the very first time, Young Chef Young Waiter is officially coming to Hong Kong this October for 2023!
Open to chefs and waiters under the age of 28, the goal of the competition is to shine a light on the plentiful local talents in Asia’s world city and to push Hong Kong back on the global map in the hospitality industry.
The Young Chef Young Waiter competition was originally established in 1979 in the UK to promote hospitality as a career of choice, a profession, and a vocation in partnership with UKHospitality and the UK Restaurant Association. The competition launched internationally in 2022, bringing together the best of the best from all around the globe to the World Finals in Monaco.
For 2023, the Young Chef Young Waiter Hong Kong competition will be taking place on Wednesday 18th October with at local charity and venue partner, More Good, (sponsored by Nordaq) who aim to utilise their experience in the food and hospitality industry to nourish those in need with quality ingredients and thoughtful cooking.
World Young Chef Young Waiter Hong Kong has been launched for 2023 to extend the competition around the globe. The Chef and Waiter winning duo from each country will join for a World Final that will take place in Monaco on 23rd – 24th November and will see the World Champions win a cash prize of $10,000.
World Young Chef Young Waiter Hong Kong Competition:
The World Champions will win a cash prize of $10,000 for 2023.
WHY ENTER WORLD YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER
The aim of World Young Chef Young Waiter is simple: to uncover the very best young talent in our industry and help equip them with relevant skills, current knowledge and the network needed to succeed in the world of hospitality. Devised by respected professionals, the competition has a fresh modern approach that focuses on tasks and criteria that are challenging, educational and fun.
World Young Chef Young Waiter showcases all aspects of hospitality. Inspiring, empowering, and inclusive, most of all we celebrate the capabilities and diversity of our amazing industry.
Many past winners have gone on to achieve huge success in hospitality and YCYW proudly supports the future stars in Hong Kong’s kitchens and restaurants.
Winners and judges have included some the industry’s great recognisable names to include – Mark Sargeant, Marcus Wareing, Simon King, John Torode, Annie and Germain Schwab, Jeremy King, Raymond Blanc OBE, Heston Blumenthal OBE, The Earl of Bradford, Lord Forte, Angela Hartnett MBE, Simon Girling and Fred Sirieix.
Founder of Nomad Caviar
Director of Francis & Aaharn
Jason Cohen is the Founder of NOMAD Caviar. Jason comes from a background in hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Jason is a co-founder of CE LA VI (Singapore, Tokyo, Taipei and Dubai) and in 2014 sold a majority stake to L Capital Asia (the private equity fund sponsored by LVMH and now L Catterton). Jason is still responsible for all the group operations and business in Greater China and North Asia. Since 2007, Jason has also worked with the Fleming Hotel and together with the owners of the property is responsible for the operations, marketing and general management of the company.
Jason is also a director and shareholder of Francis, Francis West and Aaharn (1 Michelin star) restaurants in Hong Kong.
Senior Editor of Tatler Dining
Gavin Yeung is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor at Tatler Dining who has written across the realms of F&B, design, fashion and travel, with a focus on in-depth profiles and experiential features. Previously, he held editorial positions at Hypebeast, Soho House and Vogue Hong Kong. He’s also a keen photographer and aspiring home bartender, and is constantly thinking of original, Cantonese-inflected (and occasionally questionable) cocktails to shake up. Follow him on Instagram at @gaviny.
Co-Founder of Barkada & Creator of Indulgent Eats
Jen Balisi is best known for her foodie account, Indulgent Eats, which boasts a following of over 370k food lovers. A New Yorker in Hong Kong with an affinity for both travel and food, Balisi’s multicultural food content allows her followers to travel the world just by scrolling through her feed. While studying and working at a digital marketing company in New York, she used this opportunity to explore the wealth of cheap eats and Michelin-star restaurants in Manhattan and beyond. Eager to share with her family and friends, this was the start of her food blog, Indulgent Eats. After coming back to Hong Kong, she has landed partnerships with global brands such as McDonald’s, American Express, Absolut and Jollibee. Balisi published her first cookbook consisting of 60 different dishes from a variety of cuisines and eventually co-founded her own restaurant with Singular Concepts called Barkada, serving modern Filipino cuisine. She is incredibly proud of her achievements and is excited to continue sharing dishes that will bridge the gap between cultures to foster new connections.
Founder & CEO of Synergy
Founder of The Arcane Collective & Netflix's The Final Table
From Perth to London, and now Hong Kong, Shane Osborn’s culinary career and talents span the globe. He became the first Australian chef to lead a restaurant to attain Michelin star status with Pied à Terre, London – all at the tender age of 29. Later earning a second star, Pied à Terre was internationally recognised for being one of Europe’s and the world’s best restaurants including Decanter Restaurant of the Year, San Pellegrino Readers’ Choice Restaurant of the Year, 29/30 in the Zagat guide, and 8/10 in the Good Food Guide.
Shane relocated to Hong Kong in 2012 and in 2014, he opened his first solo venture in the city, Arcane. A modern European refined dining restaurant that focuses on the finest quality cuisine, service, and wine, Arcane was awarded its first Michelin star in 2017 and has retained it ever since.
Cornerstone, a modern all-day bistro in the bustling heart of Central was Shane’s second restaurant in Hong Kong, opening its doors in 2019. He launched his third restaurant in 2021, Moxie, at LANDMARK Central and united the three under the umbrella group of The Arcane Collective.
However, if not recognised for his ingredient-driven, socially, and environmentally aware group of restaurants, Netflix viewers will know him from the platform’s first-ever world class cooking competition, The Final Table. Placing 2nd with fellow Australian chef and long-time friend, Mark Best, the show’s popularity further propelled Shane’s stardom on the international stage.
Culinary Director of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
Richard Ekkebus is the Culinary Director at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, overseeing all cuisine at one of the city’s most luxurious and distinctive five-star hotels. Under Richard’s supervision and guidance, Amber, the hotel’s contemporary, fine dining restaurant, was listed as No. 31 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 and rewarded as Sustainable Restaurant Award; and for the 15th consecutive year, awarded two Michelin stars by the Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau, and its Michelin Green star award in 2022 and 2023, recognising Amber’s sustainability efforts.
Richard began his illustrious career via an apprenticeship in his native Holland under Michelin-starred chefs Hans Snijders and Robert Kranenborg. In Holland, he won the prestigious Golden Chef’s Hat for “Young Chef of the Year”, an honour that encouraged him to further perfect his art under the tutelage of some of the greatest three-star chefs in France, including Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard and Guy Savoy.
With a strong desire to explore world cuisines and an innate curiosity, Richard then embarked on a journey that saw him hold Executive Chef positions at the Royal Palm in Mauritius and The Sandy Lane in Barbados. In 2005, he was appointed Executive Chef for The Landmark Mandarin Oriental.
Committed to driving culinary exploration and creativity, Richard is admired for his fresh ideas and innovative spirit. In December 2018, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Amber, closed temporarily for renovations. During the four-month closure, Richard and his team spent time exploring new ingredients, contemplating the needs of diners and crafting a bold new culinary philosophy. The restaurant’s contemporary menu is founded on French culinary techniques with an innovative approach. Amber invites diners to indulge in a pleasurable and mindful dining experience of the clean flavours of the natural ingredients.
Richard takes particular pride in the superb quality of his ingredients. “There is no compromise regarding quality. At Amber, we are committed to using the finest and freshest ingredients sourced sustainably and ethically from the region. Great emphasis is also placed on beautiful, creative presentations employing varying food textures and colours.”
In a city renowned for its quality and variety of cuisine, Amber offers a nuanced menu that highlights pure flavours, masterful techniques and a creative vision.
Co-founder of Twins Kitchen
Caleb Ng is a successful food and beverage entrepreneur and co-founder of Twins Kitchen, a restaurant group that has gained popularity for its innovative recipes and warm hospitality. Along with his twin brother, Josh, Caleb has established several restaurant brands across the world, such as INTERVAL, Vivant, dolos, Common Ground, Cafe Leitz, INT (Shanghai), and Gao Dumpling Bar (Copenhagen).
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Caleb moved to the USA to study business and investment banking at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, his passion for wines, home cooking, and hospitality drew him back to Hong Kong over a decade ago. There, he teamed up with his brother, Josh, to establish a restaurant group that focuses on serving heartwarming, yet innovative recipes and providing friendly service.
The Twins’ contributions to the culinary industry have been recognized through numerous awards, including the Hong Kong Tastemakers 2021 Award by Hong Kong Tatler, the 2019 Local Champion Award by T. Dining Hong Kong Awards, and the Top 50 Gen-T Talents 2018 Award by Hong Kong Tatler. Additionally, their achievements have been acknowledged with the Grand Award at the DFA Design for Asia Awards.
CEO & Founder of JIA Group
Yenn Wong is the brain behind a string of successful, highly acclaimed restaurants and bars.
Although she’s behind a string of successful, highly acclaimed restaurants and bars under the JIA Group she founded, read more Singapore-born hospitality entrepreneur Yenn Wong ended up in the business by accident. She was asked by her father, Malaysian tycoon Danny Wong, to come to Hong Kong aged just 23 and revamp a struggling mid-range hotel in Causeway Bay he’d bought. The result, Jia Hotel (later renamed J Plus), became Hong Kong’s first boutique hotel and won her numerous accolades; she followed it up with another branch in Shanghai. These days, JIA Group is best known for its range of successful high end restaurants, which continues to expand: in 2022 it opened the rustic Italian Ramato with chef Antimo Maria Merone of Estro; and the Spanish fine dining Agora, located inside Tai Kwun, with chef Antonio Oviedo from 22 Ships. In the same year, two of its restaurants, Latin American Mono and Japanese-Argentinian Ando, were awarded their first Michelin stars. Other acclaimed JIA Group outlets include Duddell’s, Chachawan, 208 Duecento Otto, Louise, Potato Head and Aberdeen Street Social. Named Tatler Hong Kong’s Restaurateur of the Year in 2016 and Entrepreneur of the Year by Asia Corporate Excellence and Sustainability in 2017, she is married to fellow F&B innovator Alan Lo, with whom she has three sons.
Co-Founder of Yardbird & RONIN
Lindsay Jang is a respected entrepreneur known for co-founding Yardbird Hong Kong; a Michelin-starred restaurant that has been recognized on San Pellegrino's Asia's 50 Best List. In addition to Yardbird, she is also the co-founder of RONIN, a renowned restaurant that has also been recognized on the prestigious Asia's 50 Best List. Lindsay also co-founded HECHO, a creative communications agency, and FAMILY FORM, a mat-based sculpting method currently in residency at The Upper House. read more With her expertise in brand and brand marketing, she provides consultation services in the dynamic fields of F&B and health and wellness. As a devoted mother of two, Lindsay has made Hong Kong her cherished home since relocating from New York in 2009.
Restaurant Manager of LPM
Chili Ma is a highly experienced Restaurant Manager with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Currently, she serves as the restaurant manager at LPM, where she ensures that guests receive exceptional service and a memorable experience.
Throughout her career, Chili has emphasized the importance of teamwork in the restaurant industry. She understands that collaborative effort is essential to providing excellent service and creating a welcoming atmosphere for guests. Additionally, Chili maintains a positive attitude in all aspects of her work, knowing that her attitude will be recognized by both her team and her guests.
With Chili's extensive experience and dedication to teamwork and positivity, she has become a respected figure in the restaurant industry.
General Manager of The Upper House and Pacific Place Apartments
Kristina Snaith-Lense began her career with Swire Hotels as Assistant Director of Guest Experience of The Upper House Hong Kong in 2012 and was promoted to Director of Guest Experience in 2014.
Passionate and dedicated to delivering exceptional services to discerning guests, Kristina led the Guest Experience team with tremendous success.
She was appointed as Hotel Manager of The Middle House Shanghai in 2017 to spearhead the pre-opening operations. Kristina returned to Hong Kong in 2019 as Hotel Manager of The Upper House and Pacific Place Apartments and rose to the position of General Manager in 2021.
Prior to joining Swire Hotels, she held various positions with The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.
Kristina graduated from University of Bristol and Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.