Espen Laumann from Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022 has been announced European Young Chef for 2021. With his dish titled From Frøya to Frosta he won the hearts of the international jury chaired by Michelin-starred chef, António Loureiro.
Espen presented a recipe based on a Norwegian fishball filled with bacon and leek, potato cream with crisp, ginger-pickled rutabaga and musslesgtock buttersauce.
The jury especially acknowledged the high level of sustainability and innovation of the dish, that at the same time demonstrated a strong connection to the region. The surprising taste was also decisive for the dish to be selected as the winner.
António Loureiro congratulated all participants and admitted that the jury had a hard decision to take, as the level of all participants was very high. He invited the young chefs to keep cooking with passion and enjoy what they do.
The competition was held at Praça, the renovated Municipal Market of Braga on 23-24 November 2021 and gathered finalists from 9 European Regions of Gastronomy including: Eric Montes from Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016; Pedro Cruz from Minho awarded 2016; Frida Jensen from Aarhus-Central Denmark Region awarded 2017; Andreas Dermatis from South Aegean awarded 2019; Janko Dulc from Slovenia awarded 2021; Inês Branco from Coimbra Region awarded 2021-22; Cristina Llorens from Menorca awarded 2022; and Léa Kanarski from Hauts-de-France awarded 2023.
Andreas Dermatis from South Aegean won the second prize with the dish Lakani, while third prize went to Frida Jensen from Aarhus-Central Denmark Region and her dish Just Another Cabbage Head.
Under the theme Innovation on Tradition, on 23 November the young chefs presented and exchanged knowledge about traditional dishes and local food products from their regions and then competed on 24 November proposing their innovative reinterpretation of the traditional recipes.
The young chefs’ innovative dishes were evaluated by an international jury of chefs and experts chaired by Michelin-starred chef, António Loureiro, from restaurant a Cozinha in Guimarães (Portugal) and including: President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd, PhD; winner of the European Young Chef Award 2019 and Top Chef Greece, Eirini Giorgoudiou; IGCAT expert and President of the Cultural Association Euro East Alternative (ACEEA), Iulia Dragut, PhD; Vice-President of the Norwegian Chefs Association, Svein Magnus Gjønvik; IGCAT expert and President of the American Culinary Federation Jamaica Chapter, Randie Anderson.
Besides the young chefs’ technical skills, the jury panel assessed their creativity, their ability to communicate the story of their dishes, together with their capacity to reduce food waste and single-use plastics in the kitchen, as well as ensure a balanced use of meat/fish ingredients and vegetables in their dishes.
The competition was also an opportunity for finalists to learn about different food cultures from across Europe and establish a professional network, while promoting culinary innovation and sustainability using traditional cuisine and local produce.
The European Young Chef Award 2021 was organised and promoted by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) and hosted by the Municipality of Braga in Minho, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016 (Portugal), in collaboration with the Consórcio Minho In.
For the European Young Chef Award, IGCAT counts on the continuous support of the official ambassador of the competition, world-renowned, Michelin-starred chef Joan Roca, who has endorsed its principles since the first edition in 2016.