The winners of the Young Chef Young Waiter 2020 competition were announced on Wednesday 21 July 2021 at The Dorchester. The overall winners of the Young Chef Young Waiter UK and China & South East Asia competition for 2020, who will both win a Mercedes-Benz A Class including insurance for a year, were: Peter Meechan of Gleneagles Hotel(UK YCYW Young Chef of the Year) and Marie Bouquet of TĪNG Restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London (China & South East Asia Young Waiter of the Year).
Head chef judge Theo Randall announced that Peter Meechan of Gleneagles Hotel 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. Head waiter judge Simon King announced the UK winner as Florian David from The Waterside Inn, second was Hellie Honney from The Gleneagles Hotel and third place was Declan Wilkins of The Hand and Flowers.
Chairwoman of YCYW China & South East Asia Ching He Huang announced that Tibor Palasti of The Sushi Bar Harrods was the winner, second place was Qing Lee Chen of Imperial Treasure and third place was Kevin Hoang of Lu Ban.
Head waiter judge of YCYW China & South East Asia Andy Downton announced that Marie Bouquet of TĪNG Restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London was the winner, 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.
The judges comments on the winners:
Theo Randall 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, who have helped develop another star of the future. I wish Peter all the success he deserves and look forward to seeing this talented young man reach the pinnacle of our beloved industry.”
Simon King 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 run the YCYW competition again in 2020. The standard of contestants has been exceptional from both the waiting and chef applicants. I would like thank personally 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.”
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.
Andy Downton said: “I was very impressed by the quality of the this years finalists it certainly wasn’t an easy task to choose a winner, however Marie is a very deserved winner. Marie’s consistency, passion, calmness & professionalism thought out all of the tasks especially during the Interviews & Scenarios was second to none and was a delight to see. Marie is certainly one to watch and will be a great ambassador to our industry going forward.”
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.”
YCYW Competition Prizes
The overall winning Chef and Waiter will win 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 JackLucas, Claire Hutchings and Sara Danesin and MasterChef winners Irini Tzortzoglou and Ping Coombes.
Frerejean Frères are offering the second prize winners an expenses paid overnight stay in their maison and winery located in the Grand Cru village of Avize, Champagne, where they will be hosted by Mr Frerejean-Taittinger.
Third place winners will receive an eight course tasting menu for two supplied by Ruth Hansom at The Princess of Shoreditch.
The YCYW UK chef finalists will receive a handmade 5K Damascus steel utility knife from 5 Knives.
The winners of YCYW China & South East Asia will win a weeks work experience at the Wynn hotels in Macao including 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.
The Young Chef Young Waiter competition, which was established in 1979, was relaunched by The Nth Degree Global last year in partnership with UKHospitality and the Restaurant Association, to promote hospitality as a career of choice, a profession and a vocation. The event is supporting The Springboard Charity’s FutureChef and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Adopt a School.
Young Chef Young Waiter UK is being supported by Mercedes-Benz Retail Group, Arla Pro UK, Alpha Rewards, TheFork, Tatler, Dojo, Dojo, The Cookaway, KuulEats ‘For the Independents’, Firetree Chocolate, Cayman Islands, Wine&Something, DIGICOOL, The Mussel Man, Champagne Frerejean Frères, Caviar House & Prunier, HG Walter, Steelite, Lynn Mackie Bespoke Uniforms and YesChef. Young Chef Young Waiter China & South East Asia is supported by Wynn, Lee Kum Kee, Yukata, EVA Air, Wing Yip.
Read more about sponsors here.
Our judges include leading figures from the hospitality industry. The judging panel for Young Chef Young Waiter UK includes our Head Chef Judge Theo Randall and Head Waiter Judge Simon King along with Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge, Claude Bosi, Emily Roux, Tom Aikens, Jeff and Chris Galvin, Andy Downton, Brian Turner CBE, Adam Handling, Mario Perera, Johanna Wimmer, Merlin Labron-Johnson, Sanjay Dwivedi, Ruth Hansom, John Williams, Ollie Dabbous, Matthew Ryle, Adam Simmonds, Dimi Leivadas, Jennifer Santner, James Fleming, Beatrice Bessi, Andrew McKenzie, Dimitri Bellos, Jonno Forbes, Saravanan Palanipandichamy, Luigi Cagnin and Antonio Salvatore.
Read more about judges here.
The panel of judges includes Ken Hom OBE, head waiter judge Andy Downton of Park Chinois, Andrew Wong of two Michelin Starred A Wong, Tony Truong of Mei Ume at The Four Seasons, Chef Wee Boon Goh at Imperial Treasure and Chef Chong Choi Fong of China Tang at The Dorchester. For the Front of House Young Waiter Judges we have Restaurant Director Alan Tang of Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London, Bernard Yeoh of Kai Mayfair, John Man at China Tang at The Dorchester.
Read more about our judges here.
Mercedes-Benz Retail Group | Stephen Hanifan Fleet Sales Director said: “We are proud to support an important initiative such as Young Chef Younger Waiter UK– especially with the synergies that the Mercedes-Benz brand stands for. Our cars are synonymous with innovation and sustainable luxury and at Mercedes-Benz Retail Group – we are huge advocates in developing and nurturing young talent. Well done to the finalists and we look forward to hearing who will be awarded Young Chef Young Waiter UK for 2020.”
Alpha Rewards | Lindsay Treasure, Managing Partner – Alpha Solutions group of companies said: “The Alpha Rewards platform not only provides the tools an employer needs to attract, reward and retain employees but also provides much needed every-day support and never has this been more vital for an industry which is one of the largest employers in the UK and yet has been one of the least supported during these unprecedented times. We are delighted to continue supporting the Young Chef Young Waiter competition which highlights the wonderful talent coming up through the industry and deserving of all our attention. As businesses and individuals, the support and encouragement we can give the next generation of achievers, now more than ever, is vital for the continued success of our society. EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AT ITS FINEST!”
Arla Pro UK | Jenna Hodgson-Silke, Global Marketing Operations said: “We work in partnership with professional chefs all over the world to develop natural, high quality dairy products that function in the professional kitchen and we understand that better food means better business. Our farmer owners are proud to sponsor Young Chef Young Waiter 2020 and give support to the next generation of talent which will drive the industry forward.”
The Fork | Patrick Hooykaas, The Fork MD, says: “We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of Young Chef Young Waiter. As the UK’s leading online restaurant reservation site we have unwavering support for the restaurant and hospitality industry. It is important that we all support initiatives which invest in and help the development at the grass roots of the industry to inspire and nurture the next generation. We look forward to being part of this successful event.”
Dojo | Guy Moreve, Chief Marketing Officer said: “We’re proud to support the future of the hospitality industry through our work with YCYW, a competition that truly understands and recognises the level of talent and dedication it takes to be a fantastic chef or waiter. This year, the hospitality space has seen unrivalled challenges, and we want to acknowledge food and beverage business owners’ colossal efforts by supporting the industry and its promising future. They have not only weathered the storm, but have come out with a whole new lease of life and passion to serve their communities and customers. We’re excited to see the next generation of hospitality talent rise through the ranks and shape the future of great food.”
KuulEats | Simon Rand of KuulEats said:”KuulEats is proud to sponsor the Young Chef Young Waiter competition and to support the next generation of talent in the UK. As innovators in the restaurant tech world, we also want to celebrate those that innovate in the hospitality industry”
The Cookaway | Company founders Nidhi & Sahil said: “The Cookaway team is excited to be able to support the Young Chef, Young Waiter Awards this year. There has never been a more important time to support the restaurant industry and the young talent shaping its future. As a team of experienced chefs ourselves, we know the immense value that comes from championing fresh new talent and helping to ensure brilliant chefs and waiters gain the recognition they deserve. We’re proud to be a part of this great tradition”.
Musselman | Robert Bicker and Francoise Fielding said: “Musselman is delighted to support the Young Chef Young Waiter Award as a sponsor and play our part in recognising the outstanding achievements across the industry. Being able to identify and award young talent is fundamental in creating and driving forward the very highest standards and we are enormously proud to be a part of this process.”
This year’s winners will no doubt be fantastic examples of how truly vibrant and resilient our industry is. It’s always inspiring to see such a wide range of skills and innovation being applauded.
Wynn | Kristoffer Luczak, Executive Vice President of Food & Beverage for Wynn Macau, Limited said, “Wynn has been actively cultivating young talents to further promote the development of the food and beverage industry. The Young Chef Young Waiter Competition is an ideal platform to recognize young professionals and Wynn is proud to support its efforts, hoping to inspire this next generation to pursue their future career development and contribute to the industry.”
Lee Kum Kee | By Ms Maria Chong, Managing Director of Lee Kum Kee: “We are always happy to support the foodservice industry development in one way or another. Besides, this is a tough year for the restaurants industry due to pandemic. We are grateful to be part of this meaningful event to keep the industry going while encouraging young talents to live up with their passion in pursuit of a colourful career in the foodservice industry and the culinary world. Our company mission is very much in support of culinary culture development, hence simply a perfect match.”
EVA Air | Bruce Wang, General Manager of EVA Air UK Branch: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Young Chef Young Waiter China/Asia 2020 Awards. EVA Air has an excellent reputation for its onboard food and wine and our links to this high profile event help provide the perfect opportunity to highlight these credentials and at the same time support a very worthy event.”
Wing Yip | Director, Brian Yip said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Young Chef Young Waiter competition and awards. It is imperative that as an industry we continue to encourage young culinary talent. Competitions such as this are a fantastic way to bring together the great and the good in hospitality to inspire and share their talent and experience with our chefs and front of house of the future. Congratulations to all of the finalists and best of luck!”
Tazaki Foods Ltd | C.E.O. Ken C Furukawa said: “I am very glad and honoured that Tazaki Foods and YUTAKA can sponsor the YCYW China/Asia 2020 this year. Having been working as Japanese ingredients specialists in the UK for more than 40 years, we have seen a dramatic change in the UK food scene. Many different Asian cuisines have become an integral part of everyday life in the UK and have also, I believe, been influencing each other and making our industry even more exciting.
We are in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic situation and there is no doubt that the food and hospitality industry has been the hardest hit by it. That is why it is so important to give our support now to the next generation of talent in our industry and I hope we at Tazaki Foods can play our part.”21st July 2021