Chefs compete at Olympic Park

Updated: 2012-06-16 08:01

By Ye Jun (China Daily)

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For three days this month, about 200 chefs from more than 30 countries will gather for a competition at Beijing's Olympic Park. The First Beijing Olympic Park International Culinary Competition from June 18-21 will become the "Olympics of culinary competitions", the organizers hope.

Chairman of the jury Liu Guangwei says there will be a group contest as well as individual competitions.

Teams of four chefs will prepare an appetizer, a main course, a soup and a dessert. They will make four servings of each - two for judging and two for display. Contestants in the individual contests will also make four portions of their dish.

The competition is organized by the management committee of the Beijing Olympic Park and a local magazine.

Winners will go home with a trophy named after China's earliest gourmet, Yi Yin, and also a supply of the country's most famous baijiu (white liquor), Moutai. It will be quite a celebration.

Liu says the cooking competition will be an international contest.

"Each team nominates a judge from each country," says Liu, who is also chairman of the Beijing Easteat Culture Group. The competition is also the sixth organized by the group.

Chefs from the countries will make dishes in their own styles. So, instead of specifically Chinese or Western cuisine, there will be a global variety. Judging will be flexible and based on taste, presentation and health benefits.

Each judge will be given an iPad, on which they will input their opinions. The iPads will be available in 20 languages, and the results will appear on the big screen at the hall immediately after judging.

The opening ceremony on June 18 and the award ceremony on June 21 will be held in the Bird's Nest, the main stadium of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The culinary competition, a female server model competition and a food material exhibition will be held in the China National Convention Center from June 19-20.

A Red Chef Hat Asian Forum will be organized at the Water Cube, the National Aquatics Center.

Ding Jun, from the events management committee of the Beijing Olympic Park, says the park intends to organize more events with international impact like the cooking competition.

He says the recently aired China Central Television documentary A Bite of China has pushed Chinese food to a new height. He hopes the event will help attract more foreigners to Beijing's Olympic venues.

Liu Guangwei says the culinary competition will help Chinese chefs learn from international peers, while showing off the best of Chinese cooking to the world.

There are some 200,000 Chinese restaurants worldwide, he says.

"China's culinary standards are as high as the best in the world. The competition will also be a good chance for Chinese chefs overseas to come back and update their culinary skills."