Improve Your Career And Culinary Skills Through Culinary Competition

By Brendan O Neill posted 26 days ago


Improve Your Career And Culinary Skills Through Culinary Competition

Chefs are afraid of competitions because they do not know how they work.

The first thing to do is to pick a competition the suits you.  For example, in Ireland we have Chef Ireland competitions every 2 years at CATEX, then we have competitions at Food & Bev Live at City West on the alternative years.  Each chef should get the brochure and look at the areas which you feel that you as a chef can excel at. 

When you pick the competition that you like, look at the rules, find someone who has competed before and talk it through with them.  This is the start of the way forward to creating top class dishes and to getting recognised as a chef who knows what they are about in the kitchen. 

Being able to be creative, cook a dish in a set time and to cook beef, lamb, duck fish or pastry to perfection and get a medal to prove it is part of competition learning.  Other skills that are learned in competition are cold display of food, some with jelly and some natural.  

There are other competitions such as the All Ireland Chef Of The Year, which is a 3 course meal with the first round cooked in your own kitchen and a judge at the hot plate.  Chefs can then get in to international competitions such as the Culinary Olympics which is held every 4 years in Stuttgart, Germany or the World Cup of Cookery in Luxembourg every 4 years opposite the Olympics.  Ireland is one of 22 nations in the final of the Global Chefs Challenge which is being held in Wales in October. The chef and one young chef under 25 will have to cook 14 x 3 course meals to Michelin standard in 4 hours.  This is the hardest individual competition in the world. 

All competitions are judged under the same rules:

  • 50% Taste
  • 10% Mise-en-place
  • 5% Service
  • 25 % Correct Professional Preparation
  • 10% Presentation

Medal standard

  • 100 % Gold with distinction
  • 90% - 99% Gold
  • 80% - 89% Silver
  • 70% - 79 % Bronze
  • 60% - 69% Diploma

I hope that this has been a useful introduction to competitions.  I will do a more in-depth overview in the near future. 

For further information on competitions or advice contact me at

Brendan O’Neill,
Culinary Committee Chef Ireland   

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