Chef Daniel Calabrese Triumphs in Worldchefs-Endorsed Regional Competition

Chef Daniel Calabrese Triumphs in Worldchefs-Endorsed Regional Competition

Chef Daniel Calabrese clinches top honors in the Worldchefs-Endorsed Vegan Main Course Competition, a landmark event hosted by the Canadian Culinary Federation.
1st place winner Chef Daniel Calabrese with his kitchen assistant, Young Chef Samantha Heino at the 2024 Worldchefs Endorsed Vegan Main Course Competition in Toronto, Canada.

1st place winner Chef Daniel Calabrese with his kitchen assistant, Young Chef Samantha Heino, at the 2024 Worldchefs Endorsed Vegan Main Course Competition in Toronto, Canada.

Paris, France | March 21, 2024 — Celebrating culinary excellence and innovation, Chef Daniel Calabrese took the top spot at the 1st Annual Individual Vegan Main Course Culinary Competition for Canadian Culinary Federation Chef Members. Held on February 27th, 2024, at Centennial College’s culinary labs in Toronto, the competition showcased the artistry and skill of chefs dedicated to the craft of plant-based cuisine and garnered global attention with its Worldchefs regional endorsement. 

Excellence in Vegan Culinary Arts

The 1st Annual Individual Vegan Main Course Culinary Competition, hosted by the Culinary Federation Toronto branch, provided a platform for chefs to explore the vast possibilities of plant-based cuisine in the competition arena. Seven participants were tasked with crafting a 100% vegan main course within a strict 60-minute timeframe, presenting their creations to an expert panel of Worldchefs judges.

Competitors, each with the help of a Young Chef assistant, got to work on the preparation of two plated portions of a vegan main course. Featuring at least one accompanying sauce, the competitors had one hour to present a well-balanced mix of plant-based proteins, fruits, vegetables, starches, and healthy fats. Notably, processed or pre-formed items were strictly prohibited, emphasizing the use of whole plant-based ingredients.

With top awards granted for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, the competition brought together chefs committed to excellence in plant-based culinary arts.

  • 1st place:
    • Chef Daniel Calabrese
    • Young Chef kitchen assistant: Samantha Heino
  • 2nd place:
    • Chef Jose Paez
    • Young Chef kitchen assistant: Ramandeep Kaur
  • 3rd place:
    • Chef Muralitharan Thambapillai
    • Young Chef kitchen assistant: Simarjot Kaur
Competition Rules and Judging Criteria

Judging, a critical aspect of the competition, evaluated participants based on demanding parameters for service, presentation, and taste. The competition’s judging criteria, developed by Worldchefs, encompassed several key aspects including mise en place, correct professional preparation, hygiene, food waste management, service, presentation, and taste, with a total possible score of 100 points.

Vegan Main Course Culinary Competition 
Worldchefs judging jury

The Worldchefs-Certifed judging jury at the 1st Annual Individual Vegan Main Course Culinary Competition for Canadian Culinary Federation Chef Members.

The judging jury consisted of two kitchen judges and three tasting judges, including a Certified International Worldchefs judge and Certified Continental Worldchefs judge, and several rookie judges shadowing to achieve the prestigious recognition as a Worldchefs Certified Judge. The Worldchefs-Certified judging jury ensured a fair and competitive environment and provided individual feedback to each competitor.

“Competitors experienced unbiased and well trained judging from a panel of Worldchefs tasting panel, giving valuable feedback for future culinary competitions. Competitors from outside of our membership were interested in competing directly because of the following and visibility of Worldchefs. Our local and regional aspiring judges also had the opportunity to shadow judge our Worldchefs judging panel and gain valuable insights into the requirements and standards of a professional competition,” said Shonah Chalmers CCC, BSc, WCCE, HS, the president of the Culinary Federation Toronto Branch and Worldchefs Certified Judge. “By having the Worldchefs endorsement we were able to attract a national company to sponsor the competition, alleviating costs to the local chefs association. The company was engaged by having a global entity like the prestigious Worldchefs aligned with their brand. Social media had a higher uptake and more engagement than any local or National competition has had in the past.”

Chef Daniel Calabrese’s Winning Dish

Chef Calabrese impressed judges with an artful presentation that exemplified the competition’s rigorous standards. His winning dish, a creative fusion of plant-based ingredients, showcased diverse flavors, textures, and ingredients.

Chef Daniel Calabrese
Winning dish
Worldchefs Endorsed Vegan Main Course Competition

Chef Daniel Calabrese took 1st place at the 2024 Worldchefs Endorsed Vegan Main Course Competition with this dish featuring a tofu, walnut and quinoa bar, potato and celeriac roll, roasted miatake mushrooms, golden beet hive, savoy cabbage, roasted red baby beets, smoked purple carrot purée, aquafaba and coconut foam, and leek oil.

His victory at the 2024 Individual Vegan Main Course Culinary Competition positions Chef Calabrese as a trailblazer in the evolving world of vegan culinary arts. Chef Calabrese also highlighted the effort and talent of his competition assistant, Young Chef Samantha Heino. “She was an absolute rockstar in the kitchen and shows great potential as a young chef and as a competitor,” said Calabrese.

Worldchefs Endorsement and Global Recognition

All competitors received an official Worldchefs digital credential for participating in a Worldchefs-endorsed competition. The highly shareable credential, issued to each participant in the form of a digital badge, highlights the importance of participating in Worldchefs-endorsed competitions for skill advancement and international recognition.

Worldchefs Regional Level Endorsement, launched in early 2024, expands access for Worldchefs’ member associations to the global quality label for culinary competitions. With benefits for event organizers and competitors, Worldchefs Endorsement unlocks global visibility, access to Worldchefs Certified Judges, game-changing digital badges, and event marketing support.

“Worldchefs Culinary Competition Committee had just these type of events in mind when crafting the new regional endorsement level,” says Rick Stephen, Chairman of the committee. “Regional competitors deserve more attention and opportunities to advance, and Worldchefs Endorsement gives organizers that international visibility, access to our global network of Approved Judges, and a standard for excellence to set their competition above the rest. We can’t wait to see more from regional competitions all over the world, especially the younger generation of our industry talent like Chefs Daniel A. Calabrese, Jose Paez, and Muralitharan Thambapillai.”

Featured image: Competitors were all smiles at the 1st Annual Individual Vegan Main Course Culinary Competition, held on February 27th, 2024, at Centennial College’s culinary labs in Toronto.


Take your competition to the next level with Worldchefs competition endorsement, a prestigious recognition, achieved by competitions that meet the highest standards of quality. This endorsement provides exceptional opportunities for visibility to an audience of culinary professionals.

Benefits include:

  • Tap into a global community of chefs for greater networking and business opportunities.
  • Unlock new possibilities with optional digital badging and event competition software.
  • Gain free of charge digital badges for competitors and winners with co-branding opportunities.
  • Gain access to downloadable evaluation and scoring sheets on Worldchefs website. 

Learn more and apply to endorse your competition:


TPB-Hosted Worldchefs Asian Presidents Forum 2023 A First for PH

The Philippines hosted the recently concluded WORLDCHEFS Asian Presidents Forum (WAPF) 2023, welcoming delegates and presidents from sixteen (16) member societies, two (2) associate member groups, as well as organizational heads of the World Association of Chef Societies (WORLDCHEFS). This was the first time the event was held in the country, with the last occurring in Bangkok in 2019.

Co-organized by the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPB) and LTB Philippines Chefs Association, the WAPF kicked off with an opening ceremony on July 31 at Conrad Manila. Forum events ran until August 5 and aimed to bring together culinary experts from all over Asia to share culinary heritage, industry best practices, and sustainability goals through knowledge-sharing sessions, competitions, and outreach programs scheduled throughout the weeklong conference.

Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco shared that the event was a good showcase of the country, saying that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “envisions the Philippines to have a more primary role in Asia in terms of being able to reintroduce itself to the world, not only on the aspect of fun and adventure, but most importantly, to allow you to get to know the heart and soul of the Filipinos that lies in our history, our heritage, our identity, and our living cultural traditions, including and especially, our culinary traditions.”

“We are given a unique opportunity to listen and learn from experts about developments in the culinary field. The world is more connected, now more than ever, and this has vastly influenced and changed the way we look at food, especially in recent years. People from all over the world are constantly seeking new gastronomic experiences,” said TPB Chief Operating Officer Margarita Montemayor Nograles.

Attending member societies include LTB Philippines, Association of Culinary Professionals Indonesia, Cambodia Chefs’ Association, Chefs Association of Pakistan, Chefs Guild of Lanka, Chefs Guild of Maldives, China Cuisine Association, Hong Kong Chefs Association, Indian Federation of Culinary Associations, Korea Chefs Association, Mongolian Chefs Association, Professional Culinaire Association of Malaysia, Singapore Chefs’ Association, Taiwan Chefs Association, Thailand Chefs Association, and The Saigon Professional Chefs’ Guild.

The associate member groups of Penang Chef Association and Karachi Chefs Association were also present.

“So many presidents and so many representatives from WORLDCHEFS member countries, [who] are here in the room, shows that Asia is one of the powerful forces in WORLDCHEFS,” said Chef Thomas Gugler, WORLDCHEFS president.

Also in attendance to give talks on Filipino food heritage and food sustainability in hospitality establishments were Felice Prudente Sta. Maria and Chef Meik Brammer, respectively. LTB Philippines’ Chef Fernando Aracama hosted a panel discussion with Chefs Stephan Duhesme, Carlos Villaflor, and Jordy Navarra about the Philippine culinary scene.

Chef KK Yau, WORLDCHEFS assistant vice president, gave an update on WORLDCHEFS Without Borders’ Chef Social Responsibility efforts in Syria. While Chef Alan Orreal, WORLDCHEFS Young Chefs chairman, spoke about the necessity of bridging the gap between young chefs and the old guard of the culinary world.

In anticipation of the week’s events, Chef Rick Stephen, WORLDCHEFS Culinary Competition Committee chairman, gave a rundown of culinary safety and competition standards. 

Chef Carlo Miguel, LTB Philippines president, said, “We’ve always wanted to be able to showcase Philippine hospitality to our Asian neighbors … We can show them how advanced we are in our culinary skill through the Philippine Culinary Cup as well.”

Organized by PEPTarsus Corp., the World Food Expo (WOFEX), a long-running Philippine food trade show, was held from August 2 to 5 at SMX Convention Center and World Trade Center. WOFEX hosts the only WORLDCHEFS-accredited culinary competition in the country, the Philippine Culinary Cup, which ran on August 5 along with the semifinals of the WORLDCHEFS’ Global Chef Challenge. 

asian presidents forum WAPF

According to Chef Willment Leong, WORLDCHEFS continental director for Asia, the Global Chef Challenge itself had amassed a record number of participants for the association, with 51 chefs from 11 different member countries engaging in this Philippine leg.

Leong also facilitated the launch of the WORLDCHEFS e-book “Food of Asia, Soul of Asia.” Available on the WORLDCHEFS website, the e-book features authentic recipes across the continent crafted by member association chefs.

Joel Pascual, PEPTarsus president, spoke about the benefits of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) events such as the WAPF in boosting local trade and travel. “We are indicating that the Philippines is open for business,” he said. 

Chef Leong said, “Hospitality from the Philippines is unbelievable … This [has been a] tip-top, world-standard forum .. We look forward to [coming] back to this beautiful home we call the Philippines.”

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