Young Chef Olympiad, Ryan Ogier, BBA hospitality management student, writes about his experience at the prestigious competition.
Tell us a bit about you
Hello Les Roches! My name is Ryan Ogier and I am currently a BBA4 student at Les Roches Bluche.
I decided to attend Les Roches International School of Hospitality Management as I have always loved seeing people happy and creating new memories.
I’ve had a passion for cooking ever since I was young and used to watch my mom cook our meals. I started off peeling potatoes but graduated to sous chef, as I grew older. Basically, my mother kindled my passion for cooking and really pushed me hard to become a better chef.
I started doing internships in kitchens while in high school and ever since then I’ve loved it more and more. So far in my life I have worked in 4 different kitchens, all of which have been an exceptional learning experience and have impacted my life in many ways.
The Young Chef Olympiad or YCO in Kolkata, India was my first competition. I can firmly say that it was an extraordinary experience not only in cooking but being in able to represent a school of which I am so proud and in representing the country I live in.
How did you hear about it?
I heard about this competition from one of the many great chefs at the school whom I was able to work with. Chef Dujoncquoy approached me with the idea and asking if I was interested. Of course I responded with an eager yes.
How did you apply? Did you have to go through a selection process?
I was placed in the candidate pool. When the final list was submitted to our Food and Beverage Director Mr. Gamal, the selection process began.
How was the competition?
The competition was beyond my expectations, it was enormous. When I was on the plane heading there I expected to land in India and cook for a few hours and be back at school in no time.
Little did I know what awaited me. After arriving and meeting the 14 other candidates, we entered the grand world of the YCO. From the opening ceremony in front of hundreds to the closing ceremony on stage in front of (again) with live streaming across the Internet, it was a unbelievable experience.
The competition itself was a once in a life time experience. Being put into a friendly competition against many of the other countries whom you’ve become good friends with made it that much more fun.
Round one: we had three hours to cook our dishes (appetizer, main course, dessert). Those three hours were a blur of sweat, cutting, cooking and platting. I was 100% sure I was not going to make it to the finals as I had messed up my dessert course. When they called my name as a finalist, I was blown away.
Round two: we had one hour to prepare something with a list of random ingredients that would have made any chef angry and laugh at the same time. That last hour went by in what felt like 20 minutes. With the last phase of the competition done my competitors and I were able to enjoy India to its fullest.
How was it competing with students from other culinary schools around the world, especially considering that you are not at a culinary school?
Entering a competition with other students who will soon be able to call themselves chefs was a little nerve wracking. But soon after we all met it was obvious that we were all friends and all had the same passion for cooking. We had a respect for each other, even though some had more experience then others.
Did you enjoy your time with your Les Roches peers from China and Spain?
Meeting the other students from Les Roches Marbella (Spain) and Les Roches Jin Jiang (China) was a funny experience. We soon realized that we had many things in common and that all the Les Roches campuses had a lifestyle that was almost identical even though we were separated by hundreds of miles. I can firmly say that Marcin and Marlon were two great guys who I can now proudly call friends.
Was it your first time in India? Did you have the chance to do some sightseeing?
This indeed was my first time in Kolkata and India itself. The hospitality shown by the students and organizers of the event was mind blowing, as was that of the locals we met. We had the opportunity to do some sightseeing in Kolkata and sample the local cuisine and culture. It was indeed a marvelous experience, one of which I hope to be able to experience again.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
In the future I hope to see myself entering a management in training program in the food and beverage department for a global hotel brand. I wanted to thank Les Roches for allowing me the opportunity to represent Les Roches at the YCO in Kolkata, India. I hope to be able to attend the competition again and take home the first place prize for Les Roches!