Hong Kong was the destination for 42 aspiring young chefs set to battle it out in this year’s Lee Kum Kee International Young Chef Chinese Culinary Challenge – each of them vying for the coveted title “Chinese Young Chef Champion”.
The aim of the competition is the sustainable development of the Chinese culinary industry and the inheritance of Chinese culinary skills.
“We are trying to build a platform to raise Chinese culinary development all over the world. It’s an exchange platform for young chefs to come together to compete and also add innovation to make our tradition excel,” said Charlie Lee, Lee Kum Kee Sauce Group Chairman.
The competition followed a similar format to popular British and American television cookery shows. Against the clock, the young chefs were required to prepare Chinese dishes with a specific set of ingredients, together with Lee Kum Kee sauces and condiments within 90 minutes. Both flavour and presentation were taken into consideration by the judges when selecting the winner.
This year, rising star Joung Duck Su from Korea won the top prize, despite only learning to cook Chinese food three years ago.
“This is my first time joining such a big competition. The challenge I faced during the process was only finding out what I was cooking the very last minute. I hope to further promote Korean-Chinese cuisine to the world,” says Joung.
Beyond this competition, Lee Kum Kee supports a range of projects with the aim of raising awareness of Chinese cuisine around the world, helping young people from less developed regions at the same time.
“Since 2011, we have been sponsoring youths from 15 to 19 year olds to receive professional Chinese culinary training in Beijing and Chengdu, a three-year programme to learn to be a chef. Why do we do this? Because one of the missions for our company is to promote Chinese cuisine worldwide,” said Charlie Lee.
More than 640 youngsters have joined the three-year programme, which aims to provide them with the foundations of a promising culinary career, and the opportunity to help sustain the tradition of Chinese cuisine.
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