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01 March 2024

Top Edinburgh College culinary talent impresses at international cookery competition

An Edinburgh College student returned to Scotland full of confidence after impressing judges at the tenth anniversary of an international cookery competition held in India last month.

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Lyon travelled to Delhi, alongside mentor and Professional Cookery and Hospitality lecturer Jack Evans, to take part in the annual Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) - the world’s biggest culinary student competition organised by India’s largest hotel chain, the International Institute of Hotel Management.

Taking place over five days, Aidan competed head-to-head with peers from over 60 countries in a number of different disciplines, including two rounds of cooking, where he showcased a series of dishes in an effort to become this year’s Young Chef Olympiad gold, silver or bronze medallist.

Aidan impressed judges with his culinary skills, earning one of six medals for displaying ‘exceptional culinary talent’ and is now looking forward to taking on board feedback received from the judges as he continues his development as a young chef.

Aidan said: “I really enjoyed taking part in YCO, I met a lot of new people and have created many new friendships. I learned a lot during my time in India, particularly from my mistakes. I loved meeting people from different cultures, everyone was so nice and welcoming!”

During the main portion of the competition, Aidan and his fellow competitors were tasked with creating two dishes – a vegetarian main and a dessert – in two and a half hours.

He commented: “I came up with the idea of creating a spiced aubergine caviar, cinnamon pumpkin and olive stuffed deep-fried ravioli pasta, with butternut and okra squash chutney, lentil sauce, and crispy aubergine, that was dusted with parmesan chard. For the dessert, which was already chosen for us, I made a crepe soufflée a l'orange.”

Aidan, who currently works part-time at Cafe Grande in the Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield area, also has his eyes set firmly on the future as he plans ahead for life after College.

Aidan stated: “Once I’m finished with College I’m going do what I do best and cook. I hope to find a nice restaurant to settle down and work. You never know what the future holds - I might one day end up in a Michelin star restaurant or open a brand new one myself.”

Edinburgh College Professional Cookery and Hospitality lecturer Jack Evans, who travelled out to India alongside Aidan, said: “Aidan performed really well in the competition and should be very proud of himself. To see the confidence growing in Aidan over the week was so rewarding and he embraced all the cultural aspects of the trip as well.”