Much of Indian food dates as far back as five thousand years. One characteristic of foods from South Asia is that they are highly flavoured using black pepper, chili, cloves and various spices and herbs used in combination. We are excited to bring to this competition the wonderful food and service of South Asia and excite the palate of our judges and guest.

The Young Chef Young Waiter – South Asia competition promotes this hospitality and food culture as a career of choice, a profession, and a vocation to a new generation. This inaugural South Asia competition is open to all young professional chefs and Restaurateurs under 26 years of age, from any background, working in the South Asia restaurant sector.

This is the inaugural Young Chef Young Waiter South Asia competition and the unique process means entrants will engage with top industry experts and along the way gain key skills, as well as make new friends from other communities competing.

Online entries are now open with video submissions by the competitors. Entries will close on 15 October after which the judging panel will shortlist 4 finalists for both categories. The grand finale of four chefs and four waiters will see the finalists face culinary and service challenges in front of a panel of industry judges. The event will be live streamed from London’s Langham Hotel on 17th November 2020. Full social distancing measures will be in place and a parallel plan allows the final to take place online.

Our expert chef judges are well known advocates for new talent as well as staunch supporters of our food culture. Led by Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, Atul Kochhar and Jitin Joshi Executive Chef Gymkhana

Our hospitality expert judges include Enam Ali MBE, Editor of Spice Magazine and organiser of the British curry awards and Rakesh Nambiar, General Manager Gymkhana

This inaugural Young Chef Young Waiter South Asia flows from a 41 year heritage created by the UK Hospitality sector. Established in 1979, the competition was relaunched in 2019 by The Nth Degree Global in partnership with UKHospitality and the UK Restaurant Association. This year also sees the inaugural Ireland and South East Asian competition joining South Asia in a celebration of culinary expertise and hospitality excellence.

Being part of the Young Chef Young Waiter of the Year is a once in a lifetime experience. A chance for competitors to test their proficiency and progress their careers whilst learning, building new relationships and developing their potential and most of all, Young Chef Young Waiter is fantastic fun!

The aim of Young Chef Young Waiter - South Asia 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 focusses on tasks and criteria that are challenging, educational and fun.

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.

You are the leaders of the future. It’s your incredible expertise that YCYW commends. Be sure to join us for the competition in 2020.


Head Chef Judges


Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL

Cyrus Todiwala is a chef, restaurateur, educationist, author and entrepreneur. Genial and down-to-earth, his accessible persona masks an encyclopaedic knowledge of food history and cuisine and many a sophisticated turn in the kitchen. read more Together with his wife Pervin, Cyrus runs four restaurants. Café Spice Namaste at the edge of the City of London is a 25-year old institution, and the world’s longest running Michelin BIB Gourmand restaurant (‘good food, good value’). Two hotel restaurants bear his name: Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen at the deluxe Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, and Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen at the Lincoln Plaza London, part of the Hilton Curio Collection. Mr Todiwala’s Petiscos in Buckhurst Hill is a small neighbourhood restaurant located in the London-Essex border.

Following a traditional boarding school education in Maharashtra, India, Cyrus decided on a road less travelled, completing four years of classical chef training in Bombay. He began his career as a hotel chef with the Taj Group, rising to Executive Chef of the sprawling Taj Holiday Village in Goa.

In the early 1990’s, he immigrated to London taking with him his young family. Almost immediately, his culinary gifts and boundless energy impressed the food cognoscenti, and helped to reshape Britain’s then limited expectations of Indian cuisine. He has since inspired a generation of Asian chefs, many of whom have gone on to open their own restaurants.

Cyrus is a staunch advocate of education and training; Café Spice Namaste was the first ever restaurant in the UK to win a National Training Award. Today he personally mentors chef apprentices and provides work experience training for a number of student chefs. Other issues close to his heart include social responsibility, sustainability, buying British, food waste, and healthy eating. As an environmental pioneer, he has won several awards including the Sustainability Champion award from the London Chamber of Commerce and Corporation of London.

Cyrus has written seven cookbooks, including the best-selling ‘Simple Spice Vegetarian’ published in March 2020. His line of hand-crafted, limited-edition condiments, oils, spice blends and sauces under the Mr Todiwala’s brand are increasingly coveted by professional and home cooks alike.

He appears regularly on BBC Saturday Kitchen and the BBC 4 Food Programme, which awarded him the Food Personality of the Year at its 2014 Food & Farming Awards. In 2015, he formed one half of the ‘Incredible Spicemen’, appearing on a BBC TV series of the same name alongside Tony Singh MBE.

Cyrus is an Ambassador of The Clink Charity, Patron of the British Lop Society, and Ocean Ambassador of the Marine Conservation Society. He is also a Founding Member of the Guild of Entrepreneurs, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cooks.

In line with the Parsee ethos of philanthropy (‘Good fortune is for him who makes others happy’), Cyrus has devoted much of his time and energy to missions he believes in. One of these is Zest Quest Asia, the student chef competition he founded with Pervin in collaboration with the Master Chefs of Great Britain. Now on its eighth year, Zest Quest Asia aims to develop students’ skills, knowledge and understanding of classical Asian cuisine and raise its profile as a future career. It is widely considered the most prestigious culinary competition of its kind in the UK.

Cyrus has an MBE for his services to education and training and an OBE for services to the catering and hospitality industry. As a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, he assists the Lord Lieutenant in the fulfilment of social and civic duties carried out on behalf of HM The Queen.



Atul Kochhar’s unique talent as a twice Michelin starred chef has changed the way people perceive and experience Indian cuisine. Taking inspiration from his native India, read more while continuously researching regional dishes, Atul has managed to combine his heritage with his love of British ingredients to create a unique and innovative modern Indian cuisine.
Since 1994, he has been at the forefront of Indian cuisine, achieving his first Michelin star in 2001. His contemporary style and love of traditional cooking techniques led him to open his own restaurant, Benares, which won him a Michelin star in 2007. Since then he has opened numerous successful award-winning restaurants including: Sindhu in Marlow; Hawkyns in Amersham and Indian Essence in Kent. In 2018 Atul left Benares to pursue other independent ventures. In March 2019, he opened Kanishka in Mayfair and Vaasu in Marlow July 2020. Summer 2021 Mathura in Westminster, London is set to open.

Having recipes featured in international publications and regular appearances on Amazon and television, including most recently BBC2’s Million Pound Menu, James Martin Saturday Morning and Saturday Kitchen, Atul has also written a number of successful cookbooks; Simple Indian; Fish, Indian Style; Curries of the World; 30 Minute Curries. Atul is currently in the process of developing a new book.

His work ethic and talent have not gone unnoticed as he has had the privilege to cook for Prince Charles at St James’s Palace, as well as having been personally invited to meet HM The Queen during one of the President of India’s official visit.

Dedicating time outside of the kitchen to philanthropic endeavours, Atul has worked with The Prince’s Trust and stands as an ambassador to The British Asian Trust to support high impact charities in South Asia and the UK. Atul embarked on his second voyage to Antarctica in January 2019 for the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity, which is very close to his heart.

When not busy with one of his various restaurants or projects, Atul enjoys spending time at home in London with his family. Continuing to thrive, the next few years look full of exciting new projects for Atul and his team.



Jitin Joshi is a Michelin-star chef who has worked and lead some of the most prestigious kitchens across the world. Originally from India. read more He trained at the renowned Oberoi School in Delhi, graduating from the Kitchen Management programme and bagging the Ishran Devi Gold medal for his studies, before beginning his culinary career in Jaipur.

In 2001 he moved to London to work at the Capital Hotel under two Michelin star chef Eric Chavot. He rose the ranks quickly showcasing his skill for French cooking and in particular, pastry and after a few years Jitin moved on to take the role of Head Pastry Chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze.

Post a solid tenure in French kitchens Jitin wanted to apply his learnings to Indian cuisine taking on the role as Executive Chef of Mayfair’s Benares where he led the team to win a Michelin star in 2007.

Finding comfort in the combination of French cooking technique with Indian flavours, he relocated to Dubai in 2011 to lead the kitchen at the Amal restaurant within the Armani Hotel. He was then appointed Executive Chef of Atmosphere, the world’s tallest restaurant located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, and then Executive Chef at the Taj Hotel. Where he oversaw an impressive ten food & beverage operations across the group, gaining attention with the UAE media and appearing regularly on Sony TV, and Dubai Eye Radio.

In 2018, Jitin relocated back to London to join hands with JKS Restaurants as Executive Chef of Michelin starred Gymkhana the critically acclaimed restaurant inspired by the Indian gymkhana clubs, which won its star in 2014, just a year after opening.

In his spare time Jitin is a keen sportsman and runner, completing 10 full marathons and has plans for many more! He lives in London with his wife and teenage daughter.



Enam Ali MBE

Enam Ali MBE – FIH, among the most prominent British Asian personalities in the UK, known for his leadership and passionate concern for the interests of the hospitality industry; the man behind revolutionary change in the curry industry and a great philanthropist. read more As a result, he is frequently seen and heard in the UK’s key print and broadcast media, such as CNN, SKY news, BBC etc. acting as a spokesman for the Asian business sector and as an unofficial ambassador for the country of his birth. He began his community work by establishing numerous trade associations in the nineties and published the industry’s first and leading trade publication Spice Business Magazine in 1997 in which he is the editor and founder. Subsequently he founded the annual British Curry Awards in 2005 which is dubbed as the “Curry Oscars”. He is also the founder of multi award-winning restaurant Le Raj in Epsom, Surrey. In 2017, he founded iON TV on Sky platform Channel 773. Moreover, alongside this Enam has developed outstanding relationships in the political arena. He has been a member of the Home Office Hospitality Advisory Panel for over five years under Tony Blair’s government. He has also served on numerous occasions as a jury member for the crown courts.

He has been a judge and still a food critic on various TV programmes such as F Word with Gordon Ramsay, Great British Menu and BBC Royal Recipes, MasterChef, Great British Takeaways, amongst many more news segments and programmes. His sound knowledge of Indian food is second to none.

In 2009 Enam was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for his services to the Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant industry.

In 2011 Enam granted Freedom of the City of London. In the same year, he was awarded Best Business Personality by his local area at their Business Excellence Awards in Epsom, in recognition of the contribution he has made to the local community by hosting various charitable events, raising over £1.02 million since 1989. In 2012, Le Raj was selected to serve Indian food to thousands of Olympic officials and diplomats at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He was named NRB (Non-Resident Bangladeshi) Person of the year 2015 by Millennium Global Magazine.
In 2015, he was the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Indian Restaurant Congress in India in relation to the recent launch, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of the National Skills Development Mission in which UK has entered in partnership under the skills programme.

In June 2016 Enam was elected president of the British-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to continue promoting trade and investment opportunities and co-operation between Britain and Bangladesh. During his term, he hosted the NRB Global Business Convention in Bangladesh with 29 nations participation. Enam also hosted the Global Challenges conference in Bangladesh with keynote speaker, David Cameron, Former Prime minister of Great Britain.

April 2018, he was awarded Awards Professional of the Year by Awards Awards. Enam continues promoting British Businesses worldwide in the media covering “Curry may be born in India but Britain globalised it”.
In June 2019, he has been recognised by the Institute of Hospitality for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

In 2020 he was on the list of 100 most influential Bangladeshi businessmen in UK.

Rakesh Nambiar

After successfully completing a degree in Hospitality Management, Rakesh joined The One & Only
Royal Mirage Hotel Dubai as a waiter.
read more Couple of years later pursued his dreams and moved to London in 2007. He started off working at Veeraswamy, the oldest Indian Restaurant in London as Assistant Restaurant Manager & subsequently Amaya, where he got the opportunity to express his creativity and passion for

In 2012 he opened Alain Ducasse’s Rivea at The Bulgari Hotel

Since 2015 he’s heading Gymkhana as a General Manager operating the business with passion & nurturing young talents

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