The inaugural Chinese Culinary World Championship concluded successfully on November 20, attracting 16 teams from 11 countries and regions, totaling nearly 100 contestants. The event is a top competition aimed at the profound and lasting promotion of Chinese food culture to enhance its global influence. Organized by China Cuisine Association (CCA) and managed by Koelnmesse, it is also the only competition in the world for Chinese cuisine endorsed by World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs).
Outstanding chefs of all ages from China and abroad pitted their skills in competing teams. Boasting a 20-member judging panel comprising Asia Continental Director of WACS, Dr. Rick Stephen as the event’s chef planner and consultant, the tournament sought to establish a sound judging system and evaluation guidelines based on fairness, openness and strict work ethic, and greatly benefitted from his wealth of experience and involvement in various competitions across Asia.
Being the first competition of its kind to focus on Chinese cuisine, CCA and WACS joined hands with numerous renowned chefs and the who’s who in the culinary world to define new guidelines, while integrating with the existing general standards for global events adopted by WACS. The result: Chinese cuisine as the soul of the creation with Western-style presentation. This has not only laid a solid foundation for the event’s development, but also served as a valuable resource and reference standard for future events worldwide.
As event manager of the Chinese Cuisine World Championship, Koelnmesse contributed its extensive global resources and related experience from years of running the Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge in Bangkok, and brought in sponsors from all over the world to the event, such as Electrolux and Meat & Livestock Australia.
The decision by CCA to host the competition at World of Food Beijing was also an affirmation of their trust in the platform, while in return it benefitted from the international exchange, trade and networking opportunities offered at the trade fair. It also served as a basis for the Association to extend into several supporting activities, such as forums, showcase of traditional Chinese cuisine, and food tasting, to promote interaction within the food and beverage industry and propagate food culture to the masses.
The two-day event from November 18 to 19 welcomed representatives from 11 overseas teams, including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Italy, the United States, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal and Korea. Representing Mainland China were the China National Culinary Team, the China Olympic Culinary Team and three teams from the provinces of Shanxi, Yunnan and Zhejiang. Each team consisted of a leader, five contestants and a kitchen helper.
Teams were required to prepare and present six items, including an appetizer, a soup, a seafood dish, a meat dish, a main course and a pastry dish or dessert, and produce 37 portions per course within five hours. All dishes were also to be plated and presented within two hours. In addition to supplying ingredients and materials required for the tournament, top sponsor, Metro, also provided full procurement support for all competing teams.
Besides subjecting all of the dishes to rigorous assessments and tasting by the judging panel, the creations were also critiqued by a total of more than 500 representatives from finance, sports, media and food institutions. This demanded not only adeptness in Chinese food preparation techniques, but also precise control of time. On top of the finished products, judges also graded teams on five key aspects: mise en place, correct professional preparation, food presentation, taste and texture, and service.
After a total of more than 3,500 servings of dishes over two rounds in the two-day event, teams from Hong Kong, Yunnan province and Taiwan triumphed over all the others to bag the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards respectively. During the awards ceremony on November 20, president of CCA, Jiang Junxian, Koelnmesse’s managing director in China, David Feng, and master chef Li Yaoyun were among those who handed out the awards to the winning teams.
As a general practice of WACS, an additional award will go to a contestant with the best performance selected by the judging panel. However, being the first-ever Chinese cuisine competition certified by the Association, precedence was set by selecting two contestants for the award, which went to Hong Kong’s Chef Tse Nam Yung and Chef He Yunzhong from the Yunnan team.
Forum activities in excess of 15 hours, spanning topics on talent and education for Chinese cuisine, management and innovation and ingredients and culture ran parallel to the tournament. Panelists shared their experience and knowledge based on their international perspectives, which won high praises and active discussions among the attendees.
The second edition of the Chinese Cuisine World Championship will be held from November 16 to 18, 2016 concurrently with World of Food Beijing, and will see contestants competing as individuals. Preparation works for the next season has kick-started. Participants can expect an even better environment to compete in and enhanced tournament rules in an effort for the contest to become a platform for international exchange and an important stage to elevate the status of Chinese food culture.