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Cooking with Compassion: Young Chefs Club of Korea is Making a Difference

Keep reading for an update from the Young Chefs Club of Korea:

On the last day of March, there was a significant moment for the Young Chefs Club of Korea (YCK). 

In fact, we had been planning this volunteer activity for a long time.  There were moments when our motivation waned, and we had to postpone our plans due to COVID-19. However, we finally began.

Since August 2015, the YCK has been organizing various activities, including free mentoring seminars for young chefs member every month (excluding the COVID-19 period), as well as pop-up restaurants, farm tour, competition participation, team gatherings outing, and year-end events. However, one day, we decided to embark on volunteer activities for others, not just chefs, for simple reasons.

Let’s spread the word that chefs who benefit from support from senior in the industry and from world-renowned brand companies can also have a positive impact on others. Even if they are “YOUNG” chefs.

As a result, we started our first volunteer activity at a childcare center in a city other than Seoul, and we decided to maintain the relationship thereafter. 

Our goal is not only to provide delicious food but also to help friends who want to experience and learn about cooking. As a result, some friends have expressed interest and contacted us, wanting to participate in our seminar in April.

We’ve found another guiding principle for the Young Chefs of Korea: that even ordinary chefs or individuals can leverage their talents to have a social impact. Thank you to everyone who showed interest and support for this event. Special thanks to “Nestlé Professional Korea” for always being with the YCK.

– Jake Kim, Korea Chefs Association, Vice President and Young Chefs Club of Korea, Founder & Chairman

This October, Worldchefs’ global community will gather together in Singapore for the 2024 Worldchefs Congress. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to learn and connect with industry leaders!

Young chefs who join us in Singapore are offered exclusive excursions, meet and greets with speakers, and networking opportunities with chefs from all across the world! We have a special package exclusively for young chefs. No need to pay the normal price of 950€. Chefs under 25 can register for only 550€!

Gain valuable knowledge and insights to help you pave your way into the industry, register now: https://www.worldchefscongress.org/register


Learn more about the Global Development of Young Chefs Committee.

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Young Chefs Are Taking the Industry Back to School

Young Chefs Are Taking the Industry Back to School: In Conversation with Rebecca van Bommel, Worldchefs Young Chefs Ambassador

What do the next generation of industry leaders have to say about key challenges for the future? We hear from Rebecca van Bommel, an up-and-coming culinary voice and one to watch. Her early career already has an impressive résumé: Worldchefs Global Development of Young Chefs Committee member, Culinary Federation Canada’s Young Chef Liaison, Red Seal Certified Young Chef, and competitor with Culinary Team Canada. She shares her insights to help pave the way for young people in hospitality.
How did you wind up in this profession? What was your pathway?

I knew from the start that I wanted to pursue something in the culinary field. I’ve always loved baking, making different desserts for my family and friends, cooking. As soon as I finished high school, I went straight into a two-year culinary school program and that just solidified the passion I had for the industry and how much I loved it. From there, I did some apprenticeships in Ireland and really enjoyed that as well, and just kept cooking. I did a few different avenues—hotels, local pubs, a Michelin star—and then COVID hit and the industry slowed down a bit. Some chefs I had been working with previously on a contract basis at food shows reached out to me and had a food sales position open. And that’s how I transitioned over into that avenue. I’ve been enjoying it.

What do you love about being in the food broker world?

The food broker world I love because you get to see behind-the-scenes. I get to interact and talk with different chefs every single day, talk to them about what products they’re using and why, and get a little insight into their restaurant or their business and how they run things and what they prefer. It’s really cool for me, coming from a chef background, to get a behind-the-scenes look into different chefs’ lives, so that’s been enjoyable for me.

You also cook at a retirement home. What is unique about serving that market?

Working in the retirement community, that opportunity also presented itself during COVID. I got into that world and realized—wow—they make really good food. We serve steak, we serve lamb, we serve lobster tails to our residents.

Depending on the restaurant, you often don’t get to talk to the people who are eating your food. Retirement is completely different because it’s the same people every single day, and you can actually build a relationship with them, find out their likes and dislikes. There’s a lot of creativity allowed in retirement. You’re not making the same dishes every day like you would often in a restaurant. Every day is different. And you can take what the residents are telling you, what they love, what they don’t love, and take that into account and create amazing food for them.

Competition—it’s something you do a lot at a very high level. Any lessons learned from the competition world?

I did my first competition while I was still in culinary school. It was a small, local one. I said, ‘I’ll do this just for fun. See where it goes. Just have fun with it.’ I got 1st place. And then I was kind of like, oh, this is fun.

It’s a good stress. It’s a stress, but it’s a stress that motivates you to want to try better. Segueing from that competition, I was invited to compete at the Culinary Olympics on a regional team. And that was probably the most stressful summer of my life—the practicing and preparing—and I said, ‘I will never do this again. This is not worth it.’ But then we got to IKA. Just to see all the other competitors and how big it is, and how proud you feel. Now I’m on my third Culinary Olympics team, and I don’t think that’s over any time soon.

Let’s jump into the world of sustainability. Where are our young people in this equation?

I think young chefs especially are extremely aware about sustainability in the industry and in their careers. I know it was something we talked about when I was in culinary school and how important it is to prevent food waste. Food waste is a huge part of it, and I think young chefs for the most part are very much aware and try to do their best about that. Another big factor is plastic waste, which again resurfaced with the pandemic because there was a lot of single-use plastics that were necessary at the time.

Young chefs are definitely aware of it and know that in order to have a bright future it’s something that they need to be mindful of on a daily basis. The issue with young chefs is sometimes they don’t have the support in their jobs to be able to do those types of things.

Are they empowered to make that change?

I would say it largely depends on what type of restaurant they’re in. For example, I’ve worked in a small local pub that got a lot of their ingredients from local farmers, and we used everything we could. We’d use carrot tops to make pesto and if we were to get fresh meat in, we’d use every part of the animal.

But then on the other hand, you have things like fine dining and Michelin stars, where they’ll make a square pan of something and cut out circles, and then you have all this waste. Or they’ll only pick the most perfect-looking carrots to put on the plate because of course we eat with their eyes first, and that’s important for that level of dining.

I think it depends on where they’re working. Young chefs in a smaller, independent restaurant would feel more empowered than say, a Michelin-starred restaurant where there’s that level, that standard that they have to keep up. And it’s so much harder to do that sustainably.

How about in competition?

With competitions it’s very hard to keep it sustainable, especially with the number of practice runs you have to go through to get to the competition. But I know even in the rules and the judging criteria, they’re becoming a lot more mindful of that.

In the past, where you might have used plastic tasting spoons, now the standard is to use wood or bamboo, something compostable. Same with sorting waste. They really focus on that. If you have trim from vegetables that you could use in a soup or use in another dish—save that, set it aside, put that to use. It’s a big focus, but it’s hard to do.

Another thing we try to do on our team—one of our competitions is cooking for 110 people. If we’re going to do a practice run, we want to find either 110 people we can feed so that food is not going to waste, or somewhere we can donate the food.

What would your advice be to a young person who wants to do things sustainably at a workplace where that’s not a priority?

I would say to start with a small change, because even the small things make a difference. You’re not going to change the chef’s mindset overnight and suddenly everything’s going to be sustainable. But if there’s one little thing, one little practice in the restaurant where you could suggest a more sustainable alternative, start with that. And that might open the doors for future conversations. That might get the chef thinking as well, ‘What else could I do? That was an easy change that didn’t affect the quality of my food at all. What else could I do to be more sustainable?’

Is sustainability something that is top of mind for young chefs looking for a place to work?

It’s hard to speak on behalf of all young chefs, but I would say sustainability isn’t necessarily top top. It’s definitely cuisine, style, food, and skill. But there is a niche in restaurants that are nose-to-tail or farm-to-table. In that sense, a lot of young chefs look for those types of establishments and want to work there, and those are more sustainable establishments naturally.

I don’t think they go in looking for sustainable businesses, but they might go looking for something that operates in that sense, where they’re very mindful of using local fresh ingredients and using every part of the ingredient.

What do you want to see from employers today?

Young people, we’re kind of driven by low risk, high reward. Going back to the pandemic as well, when a lot of chefs didn’t have work because restaurants were closed, it gave them a chance to breathe and a lot of them realized, ‘Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I working crazy, long hours, no days off? Really tough work environments, stressful work environments, no breaks. Why, when I could have better work-life balance?’ I think the pandemic brought that into focus. The working conditions that are typical of our industry, I’m not saying everywhere is like that but it’s kind of classically how it’s been.

There’s a big lack of workers because young chefs have realized ‘I don’t want this life anymore and if you can’t give me a more balanced schedule, some benefits, health benefits or otherwise, and better pay, I’m going to go to another industry.’

Do you think the foodservice community is doing enough to support young people as they grow into this profession?

A resounding no. What young chefs are looking for, and I hate to say it this way—money is a huge driver because at the end of the day, if you can’t put food on your own plate, why are you going to spend your time putting food on other people’s plates?

There are a lot of supports in place, like from Worldchefs, but when it comes to the actual work side of things, the typical environment, especially in restaurants, in the culinary industry, it’s not supportive of young chefs.

Can you give us one piece of advice for young chefs, and one piece of advice for those of us who have been in the industry for quite a while longer?

The piece of advice I have for young chefs I’m borrowing from one of my instructors in culinary school who told me this and it hit home and enhanced by experience as a young chef.

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Volunteer for everything. If you’re in school and there’s an event happening and they need two volunteers, put your hand up and join. If they’re having an amazing guest speaker but you have to give up your Saturday afternoon, go to that guest speaker. It’s going to enhance your experience and enhance your education. You can go to culinary school and pass all the courses and get the diploma, but if you haven’t gone above and beyond and done all the extras and joined competitions, you’re not getting the same experience as someone who has.

Go online, go to Worldchefs, take part in these webinars, take part in these free courses, especially the sustainability ones because that’s where the future’s going. And do all these extra things and you will have so much more knowledge and so many more tools to empower you going out into the workforce.

And for the more established generation of chefs?

Listen to the young chefs. While more accomplished chefs, of course they have a world of experience. They’ve been here, they’ve been there, they’ve done this and that in many competitions and cooked in many different places and have tons of knowledge and experience from that.

But still, keep in mind to listen to the younger generation of people who aren’t so established, people just starting out. They also have very valuable ideas and valuable knowledge themselves and can teach you things that you may not have even thought of. Sustainability would be a huge one of those because it’s something we think about a lot more and we grew up with and know more about that we could teach to you.


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Young Chefs get a discounted rate to Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2024, in Singapore this October! Don’t miss the Bill Gallagher Young Chefs Forum and your chance to connect with industry leaders!

Looking for more ways to get involved with an international community of motivated Young Chefs? Learn more about Worldchefs’ Young Chefs Club here.

Learn more about Worldchefs’ Feed the Planet programs at www.feedtheplanet.worldchefs.org.

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Start your journey towards a more conscious kitchen with Worldchefs’ FREE online Sustainability Education for Culinary Professionals course on Worldchefs Academy! Learn about key topics in food systems at your own pace, and give your career a boost with a valuable digital badge to show you’ve completed the training program.

Feed the Planet is powered by our friends at Electrolux Food Foundation. Visit the Electrolux Food Foundation website here and explore Replate at replate.com.

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Celebrating 30 Years: Culinary Professionals Greece

Celebrating 30 Years: Culinary Professionals Greece

In a festive atmosphere and with all the supporters of its actions present, Culinary Professionals Greece celebrated 30 years since its foundation, at the Annual Symposium held on the evening of March 26, in Thessaloniki.

The guests had the opportunity to taste the menu with which Culinary Team Greece, the official team of Culinary Professionals Greece, competed in the IKA/Culinary Olympics 2024 in Stuttgart, Germany.

The President of the Culinary Professionals Greece, Executive Chef Mr. Dimitris Kyriakopoulos, pointed out that the association is today internationally recognized and continues to aim for the promotion of Greek gastronomy throughout the world and its development.

The guests included culinary professionals, members of the association, partners, food experts, winemakers, heads of food companies, hotel units and restaurants, members of local government bodies, as well as Mr. George Damianou, Worldchefs Continental Director of South Europe. In his speech, Mr. Damianou congratulated the association for its active participation all these years in the actions of Worldchefs.

The actions of Culinary Professionals Greece, in addition to the presentation of the association’s actions during its 30 years of operation, were presented along with its participation in events, including the organization of the International Culinary Competition of Southern European, the promotion of Authentic Greek Macedonian Cuisine at the TIF, the participation in the 4th World Shiology Forum in China, the co-organization with Hellenic Aquaculture Producers Organization (HAPO) of a two-day Master Class – Fish From Greece in America and the participation at the IKA/Culinary Olympics 2024 in Stuttgart, as well as local actions such as the organization of International Chefs Day events.

All sponsors and guests were given a commemorative porcelain chef’s hat created by Rak Porcelain especially for the 30 years of the Culinary Professionals Greece. Ambassadors from all over the world of Culinary Professionals Greece Recognized chefs from all over the world, ambassadors of the Culinary Professionals Greece, such as the President of Worldchefs, Thomas A. Gugler, the President of World Chefs Without Borders, Wilment Leong and other renowned chefs, presidents of chef associations and international judges congratulated the association for its 30 years of activity and for its significant presence and activity in the field of gastronomy at an international level.

The Culinary Professionals Greece thanks the companies-supporters for their excellent cooperation and support: GINOX, PANARITIS, PROVIL, AFOI GALI, ELETRO, TIF-HELEXPO, EUROCATERING, MEVGAL, HAPO, EGEM, PYRAMIS, AYO, KONTOPOULOS EQUIPMENT, SCANBOX, AMT GASTROGUSS, AMVROSIADIS, BOSKOS FOOD, ALFA PASTRY, ANTHOULAKIS LTD, IOANNOU, ALTERRA, RAK PORCELAIN, MYLOPOTAMOS WINES, HYLANDAR WINES, THE MET HOTEL, BLUERENT A CAR, KONSTANTARA WINES, AQUA PANNA, E-PLASTICS, POLIZOIDIS, HOUTOS CATERING, MILLENNIUM, TA TRIA GOUROUNAKIA, VALANTIS, SHINE & CLEAN.

The Culinary Professionals Greece will continue its actions as an active member of Worldchefs, highlighting and developing the culinary industry locally and internationally, carrying out its humanitarian actions and acting with passion for the culinary art.


BECOME A WORLDCHEFS MEMBER

Worldchefs represents the global voice of culinary professionals, our memberships represents over 100 national chef associations and millions chefs worldwide. 

You can find a list of Worldchefs members countries here.

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Sustainability Champions at LPU Laguna

Sustainability education is becoming increasingly important as we face new challenges due to the climate crisis. At Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in Laguna, students are not only learning about sustainable practices—they’re also putting their knowledge into action through their participation in Worldchefs’ Feed the Planet programs.
from principles to practice

As part of the Sustainability Education for Culinary Professionals initiative, LPU Laguna students undergo training in sustainable cooking techniques and work with local farmers to source seasonal, organic ingredients. The program has had a significant impact on the students, who have gained a deeper understanding of the importance of sustainable practices in the food industry. They have also developed new culinary skills and techniques that allow them to create delicious and nutritious meals using locally sourced ingredients.

Beyond the students, the benefits are far-reaching. A positive impact on the environment and the local community is clear, too. By sourcing ingredients locally, the program reduces the carbon footprint of the industry and supports local farmers, who are often small-scale and face challenges in accessing markets.

The success of Feed the Planet programs at LPU Laguna is a testament to the power of sustainability education. By providing students with the knowledge and skills to create sustainable food practices, they are not only making a positive impact on the environment, but they are also preparing for careers in the food industry that are increasingly focused on sustainability.

a feed the Planet champion

Chef John Carlo Palacol, a faculty member of LPU, is making waves as a sustainability educator, inspiring students to be responsible stewards of the environment through their love of food. Palacol, a graduate of Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management, has been teaching at LPU Laguna since 2015. With his extensive background in the food industry, he has been able to incorporate sustainability principles into his culinary classes, making sure that his and other chef instructors’ students understand the impact of their food choices on the environment.

Chef John Carlo Palacol
Sustainability Education
LPU Laguna
Chef John Carlo Palacol

He’s created a waste management program that teaches aspiring culinarians to sort waste and create nutrient-rich compost, spearheaded LPU Laguna’s Eye for the Green Kitchen program that teaches students how to cook from root-to-stem using locally sourced, seasonal, and organic ingredients and reduces the carbon footprint of the school’s kitchen, and mobilizing the culinary department to develop a sustainable farm, and soon a hyperlocal menus.

Palacol’s efforts in promoting sustainability have not gone unnoticed. This year he was awarded the Worldchefs’ Feed the Planet Champion Level 3 digital badge for his commitment to sustainable culinary practices.

As a sustainability educator, Palacol hopes to inspire his students to become responsible citizens and leaders in their communities. By instilling in them the values of sustainability, he believes that they can make a positive impact on the environment and create a better future for all. Chef John Carlo Palacol is a shining example of how educators can integrate sustainability principles into their teaching, inspiring students to become responsible stewards of the environment. He is a true champion of sustainability and a role model for students and educators alike.


Learn more about Worldchefs’ Feed the Planet programs at www.feedtheplanet.worldchefs.org.

Start your journey towards a more conscious kitchen with Worldchefs’ FREE online Sustainability Education for Culinary Professionals course on Worldchefs Academy! Learn about key topics in food systems at your own pace, and give your career a boost with a valuable digital badge to show you’ve completed the training program.

Feed the Planet is powered by our friends at Electrolux Food Foundation. Visit the Electrolux Food Foundation website here and explore Replate at replate.com.

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Cover image: LPU Laguna CITHM 

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A Chef of the Century: Celebrating the Life of Siegfried Schaber

In Memoriam: Dr. h. c. Siegfried Schaber, A Chef of the Century

Dr. h. c. Siegfried Schaber, beloved industry figure and former President of Worldchefs and the German chefs’ association Verband der Köche (VKD), passed away on 14 July 2023 at the age of 88. A ‘chef of the century’, his vision and leadership defined a new era for the VKD and the global culinary scene at large.

A VKD member for nearly 70 years, Siegfried was known for his charismatic persona, eloquence, and unwavering passion for his craft. In his eight years as VKD’s Vice President and twelve years as President, he shaped the development of the German assocation, championing young talent and women in the industry. In 2020, he was surprised with a VKD Life Chief Award at IKA in Stuttgart for his lifetime achievements and enduring impact on the industry.

Siegfried completed his early training between 1950 and 1953, laying the foundation for a career that would shape the culinary landscape in Germany and beyond. Throughout his illustrious career, Schaber held key positions at renowned establishments. From his culinary excellence at the Hotel Klasen on the island of Sylt to his as a gastronomy directorship at the esteemed Palast Hotel Regina, the iconic Spatenhaus, and the renowned Restaurant Schwarzwälder in Munich, his talents were beyond compare. He served as the Director of Catering at the revered Steigenberger Hotel Management School and led the Rewe Bulk Consumer Service Center. His culinary journey extended beyond borders, with formative experiences in Sweden, France, Switzerland, and Spain. In 1976, he showcased his skill and leadership as the team chef of the German National Culinary Team at the prestigious IKA/Culinary Olympics, bringing his artistry to the world stage.

An international leader, Schaber held significant positions within the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (Worldchefs). He served as Worldchefs President for three terms, from 1989 to 2001. In 1990, he was awarded the prestigious title of Honorary Life Member, recognizing his immense contributions to the culinary world.

Schaber’s professional life was continuously marked with numerous accolades and honors, a testament to his esteemed standing in the international culinary community. He was awarded Honorary President and Honorary Senator of the VKD, the Federal Cross of Merit, and an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University in the United States. In 2020, Schaber was humbled by the VKD with the Life Chief Award, further celebrating his tireless dedication to nurturing and inspiring industry professionals.

“My job has given me everything and the world of chefs is my family.”

Dr. h. c. Siegfried Schaber

“Siegfried Schaber is a chef of the century. He carries the passion for the cooking profession out into the world and has been working on a voluntary basis for the public image of chefs for more than five decades,” said former VKD President Richard Beck of the decision to honor Schaber with the Life Chief Award. In accepting the award, Schaber exclaimed, “My job has given me everything and the world of chefs is my family.”

With his passing, the Worldchefs’ community bids farewell to a true trailblazer, a chef of the century, who shared his passion for the culinary profession worldwide. His legacy endures in the hearts and minds of those he inspired and mentored throughout his extraordinary journey. As we mourn this culinary giant, our thoughts are with his loved ones, family, friends, and colleagues. The culinary world will forever be grateful for Siegfried’s remarkable contributions, and his spirit will continue to inspire aspiring chefs for generations to come.

Siegfried Schaber during the award ceremony at the IKA/Culinary Olympics.
Siegfried Schaber with Worldchefs President Thomas A. Gugler during the award ceremony at the 2020 IKA/Culinary Olympics.

“A special and heartfelt goodbye to a great man, fantastic chef, great leader and heart blood culinarian, an outstanding career from A to Z who branded and molded the VKD and chefs from the German-speaking societies and countries and more then this, as well on a global level,” said Worldchefs President Thomas A. Gugler. “I knew Siegfried since my young age, and as leader of the VKD, as former President of Worldchefs and as well during my time as the coach for the German Junior National Cooking Team. Siegfried was always a warm heart, an iconic person with a great sense of humor and amazing knowledge. For chefs, he was always a role model and an amazing teacher with his own way of making the chefs’ world move closer together.”

Colleagues and friends from around the globe have also paid tribute to the legendary chef. “The VKD family loses one of the greats of our profession. Siegfried Schaber was a diplomat, conductor and pioneer. The promotion of young professionals was just as important to him as the further development of his VKD. He has shaped the history of the association like no other over the past 50 years, and his charismatic way of bringing chefs together was unique. We owe a lot to Siegfried Schaber and will sorely miss him in our ranks,” wrote VKD President Daniel Schade in the digital book of condolences

“There goes a really big one from the stage. I only know a few who have done as much for the reputation of the cooking profession as he has,” another said. 

“A great rhetorician and visionary has left us. A man with radiance… we will miss you very much!” a third commented. 

A detailed obituary is available on the IKA website. The digital book of condolences is available to contribute to via this link: https://bit.ly/Kondolenzbuch_SiegfriedSchaber

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A Visionary Disruptor in the World of Tea: Celebrating the Life of Merrill J. Fernando

In Memoriam: Merrill J. Fernando, A Visionary Disruptor in the World of Tea

Merrill J. Fernando, the visionary founder of Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company, passed away at the age of 93 surrounded by family and friends. He leaves behind a legacy and life story marked by empathy, ambition, and action.

In the early 1950s following Sri Lankan independence, Merrill J. Fernando experienced a defining moment. Selected to be trained as a tea taster—a profession previously reserved for British nationals only—he was one of the first Sri Lankans to be sent to Mincing Lane in London. Considered the “Mecca” of the tea world, there he witnessed the disproportional benefits reaped by multinational corporations importing his country’s prized herb.

A young man with a big dream, he set out to create his own brand with a commitment to quality, ethics, and authenticity. From that time, Merrill dedicated his life to building a company that would serve more than tea, making business a matter of human service.

“He resolved to establish his own brand, to offer tea that would be handpicked, handmade and of the highest quality, with the assurance of natural goodness, and a genuine commitment to caring for workers and the environment. It was a dream that none had dared to dream,” said his sons Dilhan and Malik Fernando, who took over the company in 2005.

Dilmah has expanded to over 100 countries, maintaining its founding commitment to quality and integrity. Fernando founded the MJF Charitable Foundation in 2003, sharing a minimum of 15% of Dilmah’s profits to serve communities across Sri Lanka through projects that support the most marginalized. In 2007, he established Dilmah Conservation with a focus on promoting conservation and sustainable agriculture. These commitments have generated over $40 million in direct humanitarian aid and environmental interventions.

The Dilmah School of Tea receivesd Worldchefs certification in 2016.
The Dilmah School of Tea received Worldchefs certification in 2016.

Dilmah’s Empower Culinary Hospitality and Inspirational School’s culinary course was recognized and certified by Worldchefs in January 2017. An initiative by MJF, its mission was born from Merrill’s belief in giving back. With the invaluable knowledge and skills acquired through the training course, the school hopes to provide its students with employment opportunities as future chefs in the tourism and hospitality sector, in both local and international kitchens, bakeries, and patisseries.

Dilmah Tea Founder Merrill J. Fernando was honored by Worldchefs with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
Merrill was honored by Worldchefs with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

Merrill was a recipient of many prestigious honors, including Worldchefs Lifetime Achievement Award,  for his philosophy on humanitarian service and building a business at the intersection of passion and purpose.

“His achievement in disrupting an exploitative colonial industry irrevocably changed the lives of producers around the world introducing a paradigm shift in ethical business before ethics and sustainable business acquired the prominence they have now,” a statement read on the Dilmah website.

Merrill’s devotion and urgency changed the world. His legacy, deeply rooted in compassion and genuine concern for humanity, continues to inspire generations of tea enthusiasts and industry leaders alike.

The Worldchefs’ community deeply mourns his passing, touched by his unwavering integrity and indomitable passion. A true icon and a valued partner, for over a decade Merrill has been an extraordinary collaborator. Dilmah’s continued support for chefs and hospitality professionals worldwide has been immense. Merrill’s vision and passion have left an indelible mark, and we at Worldchefs are honored to have been a part of his remarkable journey.

Merrill J. Fernando addressed the main forum at Worldchefs Congress in 2016.
Merrill J. Fernando addressed the main forum at Worldchefs Congress in 2016.

“With great sorrow, I have to say a last goodbye to Merrill, with whom I had so many great experiences and missions, a man with an outstanding character, a heart full of gold, a passion for the culinary industry, a great father and loving husband,” said Worldchefs President Thomas A. Gugler. “Dilmah Tea’s and Worldchefs worked together over many years to place Sri Lankan teas on the great world map of culinary arts and cooking competitions. Continuously this bond has developed further and further. My heartfelt condolences to Dilhan and all his family, friends, culinary colleagues, members of the Dilmah organization, and everyone who knew him personally. I would like you to know that you have left a big legacy behind you, which will always be remembered.”

Merrill’s legacy will continue to inspire generations of tea enthusiasts and hospitality professionals, and his spirit will forever be present in the world of tea and culinary excellence. We raise our cuppas to celebrate the life of a true changemaker.

In 2020, Worldchefs interviewed Merrill to explore his approach to “making business a matter of human service”. Hear more about his exceptional life on Worldchefs Podcast: World on a Plate. Listen to the episode, A Live Devoted to Tea, above.

Let us be reminded by Merrill’s iconic slogan – “Do Try It” – to approach challenges and opportunities with the willingness to try, to help, and to dream.

Learn more about Merrill’s legacy at mjf.dilmahtea.com.

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Italy: Families receive food assistance from Worldchefs members amid deadly floods

Amid catastrophic flooding in Northern Italy, Worldchefs’ member Federazione Italiana Cuochi (FIC) and World Chefs Without Borders provide thousands of displaced people with food and comfort.
Catastrophic flooding in Northern Italy has displaced thousands and upended livelihoods. Worldchefs member FIC is on the ground providing emergency food relief to flood-stricken communities.
Catastrophic flooding in Northern Italy has displaced thousands and upended livelihoods. Worldchefs member FIC is on the ground providing emergency food relief to flood-stricken communities.

Flooding in Northern Italy has killed 15 people and displaced more than 36,000. Worldchefs’ member FIC has responded with emergency food relief, delivering solidarity and food assistance to those in need.

In Emilia-Romagna, dozens of chefs from the FIC Solidarity and Emergency Department (DSEFIC) have worked around the clock to provide hot meals to those whose lives have been upended by the deadly floods.

In Emilia-Romagna, dozens of chefs from the FIC Solidarity and Emergency Department (DSEFIC) have worked around the clock to provide hot meals to those whose lives have been upended by the deadly floods. Image: FIC volunteer chefs prepare hot meals in emergency kitchens in Imola and Riolo Terme.
FIC volunteer chefs prepare hot meals in emergency kitchens in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.

“Since May 19, our teams of emergency cooks have been on the field in the cities of Imola and Riolo Terme to prepare meals for the population and rescuers,” says Roberto Rosati, DSE President and World Chefs Without Borders Committee Member. “To date we have produced almost 12,000 complete meals.” Worldchefs Without Borders provided 4,000 euro to help fund the food relief effort.

On the frontlines of the climate crisis

DSEFIC’s work on the ground is helping flood-hit families get back on their feet by providing immediate food assistance.

The Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy is one of the country’s agricultural hubs. The flooding has inundated farmlands and destroyed produce, decimating a region known as the “Fruit Valley”. Greenhouses and stables have also been affected, resulting in the loss of animals. More than 5,000 farms have been submerged, including fields of corn and grain, compounding on record inflation and soaring food prices.

Livelihoods, croplands, and homes have been devastated by the catastrophic flooding, a region where researchers warn will see more violent and frequent storms due to the accelerating climate crisis.

The floods followed years of severe drought, which compacted the soil and reduced its ability to absorb rainfall. Rising temperatures have intensified droughts, leading to soil dryness and changes in permeability. With extreme amounts of rainfall in a short period, runoff is exacerbated, causing rivers to overflow and alter their course. Over 20 rivers in the region have burst their banks, triggering numerous landslides.

Emilia Romagna’s President, Stefano Bonaccini, likened the devastation to a “new earthquake,” just days before the anniversary of a deadly earthquake that struck the region in 2012.

Experts warn that flood-battered Northern Italy will see more violent and frequent storms, linking the disaster to the accelerating climate crisis.
The Worldchefs community stands in solidarity

DSEFIC has been working tirelessly to provide meals for the affected population. To ensure that their disaster response program can effectively assist affected communities, DSEFIC is seeking donations to enhance their kitchen operations in Riolo and Imola.

The support and contributions of individuals and organizations will play a crucial role in helping the affected regions recover from this tragic event.

Donations can be made via bank transfer using the following bank details:

Bank: Monte dei Paschi di Siena Account
Name: C/C in the name of the FIC Solidarity and Emergencies Department
IBAN: IT64Z0103003213000063363833
SWIFT: PASCITM1R13

For more information, contact: [email protected]


Read more about DSEFIC in the latest issue of Worldchefs Magazine.

Visit www.worldchefswithoutborders.org for more information on Worldchefs’ global humanitarian aid initiatives.

To find out how chefs can and must respond to the climate emergency we face today, visit feedtheplanet.worldchefs.org.

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Record 1400 burgers made in a day as Chefs Association of Pakistan & COTHM celebrate International Burger Day

Record 1400 burgers made in a day as Chefs Association of Pakistan & COTHM celebrate International Burger Day

 The Chefs Association of Pakistan (CAP), in partnership with the College of Tourism and Hotel Management (COTHM), hosted a delightful celebration in honor of International Burger Day on Monday, May 29th, 2023. The event took place at the beautiful COTHM campus in Lahore, featuring a wide variety of innovative and delicious burgers that pleased food enthusiasts from all walks of life.

International Burger Day, organized by CAP, aimed to celebrate the beloved culinary delight’s versatility and universal appeal. From classic beef patties to vegetarian and vegan options, the event showcased a diverse range of burger variations to satisfy every palate. The talented young chefs showcased their creativity by reimagining traditional recipes and introducing unique twists, offering attendees an extraordinary dining experience.

Over 1,400 burgers were prepared by the chefs and generously distributed to orphanages and those in need throughout Lahore. The Burger Day celebrations were a resounding success, leaving attendees with unforgettable culinary experiences and a craving for more delectable creations. With its unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation, CAP continues to establish itself as a culinary powerhouse, delighting food enthusiasts and setting new benchmarks in Pakistan.


ABOUT THE CHEFS’ ASSOCIATION OF PAKISTAN

The Chefs’ Association of Pakistan (CAP), founded in 2006, is an apolitical and nonprofit organization. CAP is a proud member of Worldchefs – the global authority on food. It is the only national association of Pakistan, which is internationally recognized. 

It represents finest chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, food & beverage companies, culinarians, educators, learners and other stakeholders of Pakistan’s hospitality, culinary, travel and tourism industry.

BECOME A WORLDCHEFS MEMBER

Worldchefs represetns the global voice of culinary professionals, our memberships represents over 100 national chef associations and millions chefs worldwide.

You can find a list of Worldchefs members countries here.

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IICA – IANS Shines At AAHAR 2023

IICA – IANS Shines At AAHAR 2023

AAHAR – The International Food & Hospitality Fair is a flagship event organized by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the premier trade promotion body of the Government of India.

Culinary Art India 2023, the 15th culinary contest and display of excellence challenge, hosted by the Indian Culinary Forum and organized by ITPO and Hospitality First, is held in conjunction with the 37th edition of AAHAR  International Fair 2023, the International food, hospitality, and beverages tradeshow, which ran from March 14 to March 18, 2023, Pragati Madan, New Delhi.

During its 15th edition, Culinary Art India (CAI) witnessed live demonstrations by over 300 renowned chefs demonstrating their excellent cooking skills. This professional culinary challenge drew national-level participation from senior and apprentice chefs from India competing on an internationally modeled platform.

IICA is proud of its long-standing association with the Indian Culinary Forum & Chef Davinder Kumar (President, ICF), who gave the institute a wonderful platform to showcase the culinary talent of our budding chefs. In addition to one of the highest active participation of students in the competition, ICF Invited IICA Executive Chef – Sumit Gupta and Executive Pastry Chef – Akash De to conduct live demonstrations promoting and teaching healthy millet recipes to the audience comprising of chefs & students from various institutes.

Institute’s joy and pride were doubled when the young chefs grabbed silver and bronze medals in various culinary and bakery competitions and brought accolades to the institute and the accrediting partners, City & Guilds, and the World Association of Chefs’ Societies.

City & Guilds plays a vital role in providing high–quality vocational education and training & helping individuals to achieve their career goals. IICA is proud to be the first institute to be approved in India by both awarding bodies.

The culinary challenge was judged by Worldchefs certified noted chefs from India and abroad, while well-known Chef Sireesh Saxena was the organizing secretary.

AAHAR Winners! Kudos to you all…

Silver Medal Awardees

  • Chef Ishita Singh (Student Culinary Arts, Level 3– Batch 2022)
  • Chef Radhika Goel ( Student Culinary Arts, Level 3 – Batch 2021)
  • Chef Rina Nangbia (Student Diploma & Patisserie, level 3 – Batch 2022)

Bronze Medal Awardees

  • Chef Priyanka Sihra (Student Culinary Arts, Level 3 – Batch 2022)
  • Chef Rahul Kumar (Student Culinary Arts, Level 3 – Batch 2022)
  • Chef Ishaan Rohra (Student Culinary Arts, Level 3 – Batch 2022)

Mr. Arjun S. Datta was moved by seeing the young chefs with their medals and came to cherish this amazing and successful association.

“As an avid food lover and professional in the food industry, I cannot speak highly enough about AAHAR & ICF. This amazing International Food & Hospitality Fair not only brings together some of the most talented chefs and culinary experts from all over the world but also promotes and showcases local food & culture in a unique and exciting way. We have had the privilege of attending several of their festivals and each one has been a remarkable experience.” – Mr. Arjun Datta (Managing Director & COO – IICA, New Delhi)

Mr. Arjun Datta (MD & COO – IICA, New Delhi), Chef Uwe Micheel (President of the Emirates Culinary Guild), and Chef Sumit Gupta( Executive Chef – IICA, New Delhi) at AAHAR 2023

AAHAR 2023 became more special and nostalgic for our executive chef, Sumit Gupta, as it brought back the memories of his early days of becoming a chef and working with Chef Uwe Micheel (President of the Emirates Culinary Guild) at Radisson Blu, Dubai Dehra Creek. From trying and developing new recipes to curating restaurant menus together, they cherished the time and earlier days of their careers.

Learn more about becoming a Worldchefs Education Partner here.

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Pakistan International Culinary Championship 2023 Becomes the Biggest Ever Culinary Championship of Pakistan

PICC 2023 Becomes the Biggest Ever Culinary Championship of Pakistan

Pakistan – 7 April 2023 – The Chefs’ Association of Pakistan (CAP) with the endorsement of Worldchefs, and the strategic partnership of College of Tourism & Hotel Management (COTHM), arranged the 5th season of Pakistan International Culinary Championship (PICC) 2023 on 14-26 March 2023 at the Royal Palm Golf & Country Club. With the participation of thousands of professional chefs not only from Pakistan, but also from abroad, PICC 2023 turned out to be the biggest-ever culinary championship of Pakistan.

Professional chefs from around 100 local hotels, restaurants, cafes, catering companies, and more participated in the culinary competition in different categories. International chefs from Worldchefs’ National Member Associations not only competed for the title of ‘Best International Chef,’ but also performed the duties of judges for all the professional competitions. Besides the active participation of international culinary teams, National Culinary Team of Pakistan (NCTP), National Women Culinary Team of Pakistan (NWCTP), and Young Chefs Team of Pakistan (YCTP) in different cooking competitions, the championship also featured amazing food displays, fun eating competitions, Worldchefs Competition Seminar, and many other exciting activities.

Young chefs from different mainstream schools, colleges, universities and culinary colleges also competed in different categories. A large number of professional and young chefs joined the event from Karachi, Islamabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Kasur, Okara, Bahawalpur, and Rahim Yar Khan. 

The event was presented by Coca Cola as platinum sponsor, powered by KnN’s and Cheezious Pakistan as gold sponsors, while Unilever Food Solutions, Shangrila Foods, Young’s Food, Gobi’s Paints and Ambassador Commercial Kitchen Equipment sponsored the event as silver sponsors. Realite Organic Farms joined the event as ‘Vegetable Partner’, Gobi’s Paints as ‘Décor Partner’ while The Rich Hotel & Apartments acted as ‘Hospitality Partner’. 

Originations like Lahore Restaurant Association (LRA), Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Punjab Food Authority (PFA), Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), Parks & Horticulture Authority (PHA), and Discover Pakistan TV Channel supported the event as strategic partners. Discover Pakistan did exclusive shows on PICC 2023 during all three days of the event.

Dignitaries from different walks of life joined the event on all the three days and admired the job done by CAP and COTHM. Former Punjab governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Member National Assembly Shaista Pervaiz Malik, PTDC Director General (DG) Aftab ur Rehman Rana, senior journalist Sohail Warraich, WCLA Director General (DG) Kamran Lashari, Coca Cola Government Affairs Head Dr Faisal Hashmi and many other senior officials from different private and public sector departments joined the event as guests of honour. Famous singer Adeel Barki also attended the event and performed on stage for the amusement of the chefs’ community.

The ‘Nations Parade’ was a distinct feature of PICC 2023, in which chefs from different countries of the world participated and marched from the entrance of the venue towards the competitions arena. The parade was held on all the three days and not only international personalities but also local chefs, socialites, celebrities and other important personalities participated in that. Marching band and a group of students with international flags in their hands led the parade followed by all the guests and participants and had a round of arena. The international guests appreciated the spirit of Pakistani chefs and admired the services of Chefs’ Association of Pakistan (CAP) for the chefs’ community of Pakistan.

Coca Cola Pakistan & Afghanistan Vice President & General Manager Fahad Ashraf, Cheezious Pakistan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Imran Ijaz, K&N’s Foods (Pvt) Limited Chief of Multinational & Central Sales Syed Mughees A. Pirzada, Shangrila Foods Brand Manager Shahbaz Ali, Young’s Food Business Development Manager (Lahore) Faizan Khan, Unilever Food Solutions Marketing Lead Umar Waqar, Gobi’s Paints Brand Manager Hamza Hashmi visited and spent time at the venue along with their teams. They all were also awarded with exclusive souvenirs in recognition of their invaluable support for PICC 2023.

Competitions were held all the three days at Royal Palm’s Silver Bell Marquee from 10AM to 8PM and around 3000 chefs competed in almost 17 different cooking categories. Professional chefs from various big brands of Pakistan competed for the titles of ‘Best Cuisiner of Pakistan’, ‘Best Pastry Chef of Pakistan’, ‘Best Chef Pakistani Cuisine’, ‘Best Carving Artist of Pakistan’, and ‘Best Four Course Gourmet Team of Pakistan’. International chefs from different countries competed for the title of ‘Best Cuisiner International’. National Culinary Team of Pakistan (NCTP) Captain Chef Raees supervised all the competitions while ensuring transparency and impartiality throughout the event.

A wonderful team of local and international chefs comprised the jury of PICC 2023. Under the headship of Chef Majeed Alsabagh (Head of Jury) from Syria and Waqar Ilyas Khan (Chief Coordinator-PICC 2023, Coach-NCTP, SVP-CAP), Chef Muhammad Raees (Pakistan/USA), Chef Manzoor Hassan Balghari (UAE), Chef Rima Zaid (USA), Chef Amer Rabah (Iran), Chef Domenico Maggi (Italy) and Chef Tauseef Butt (Pakistan) performed the duties as senior judges while Chef Usama Asghar, Chef Tipu Imran, Chef Muhammad Razzaq, Chef Sadaqat Sohail, Chef Shumaila Zafar, Chef Rizwan ul Haq, Chef Jahangir Hussain, Chef Asif Butt, Chef Hassan Arshad, Chef Faiza Iqbal, Chef Sher Ali and Chef Nawaz performed the duties as judges. 

Chef Shamoon Barkat from Café Aylanto won the title of ‘Best Cuisiner of Pakistan’, Chef Muniza Khalid from COTHM Karachi grabbed the title of ‘Best Chef Pakistani Cuisine’, Chef Asad Malik from Cakes & Bakes took the title of ‘Best Carving Artist’, Chef Kahadam Hussain from English Tea House won the title of ‘Best Pastry Chef of Pakistan’, while the team of Chef Rizwan Abbasi, Chef Umer Chaudhary and Chef Muhammad Waqas from Pearl Continental Bhurban won the title of ‘Best Four Course Gourmet Team’. Other than the main titles, a large number of chefs also won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in different categories. To appreciate the chefs on their participation in the competitions, all the chefs were also awarded with participation certificates.


APPLY FOR A WORLDCHEFS ENDORSEMENT
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Benefits include:

  • Tap into a global community of chefs for greater networking and business opportunities.
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  • Gain free of charge digital badges for competitors and winners with co-branding opportunities.
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