In an amazing performance on Sunday 2 February, 18-year-old Beth Collings, a 3rd year Professional Chef Diploma student at Westminster Kingsway College, beat off strong competition from 59 other young chefs from around the world, to win the Bronze award at the prestigious Young Chef Olympiad in India.
Now in its sixth year, the 2020 Young Chef Olympiad was a truly global affair which pitted young chefs from 60 countries against each other in a series of timed cook-offs. Beth battled brilliantly through two rounds to reach the final in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.
Beth commutes to her course at Westminster Kingsway College all the way from Brighton every day and had been planning and practising for the Olympiad since November.
Beth has been mentored throughout by college Chef Lecturer Chris Basten, who accompanied her to India for the competition. Very well done to both Beth and Chris for their achievement!
Over the coming days, we plan to update this page with more information about Beth’s success, as well as her reflections on the competition and her time in India.
Westminster Kingsway College student Beth Collings is hoping to be crowned the world’s top young chef, as she flies out to India this week to represent England in a prestigious global competition.
Beth, 18, is a 3rd year chef student at the college’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in London’s Victoria, and will be competing against chefs from 59 other countries in the 6th annual Young Chef Olympiad.
This year’s Olympiad
pits young chefs from 60 countries around the world in a series of gruelling,
timed cook-offs in cities across India, with only 10 competitors qualifying for
the Grand Final in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on Sunday 2 February. Beth
has been drawn in Group B, and will compete against chefs from Kenya, Cambodia,
Bahrain, Jordan, South Africa, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Indonesia and Romania.
for the final starts in Delhi with the first round on Wednesday 29 January,
followed by the second round the day after. As she explained: “I have been
given a list of ingredients for the first round, from which I have to select at
least half to create a dish of my choice. The competition gets progressively harder, because
in the second round I’ll have to cook two courses. If I make it through those two rounds, the
Grand Final is on Sunday 2 February.”
Beth is in
the 3rd and final year of her Professional Chef Diploma course at
Westminster Kingsway College. She commutes to college from Brighton every day
and has been planning and practicing for the Olympiad since November. The
college has a lot of experience of helping its students prepare for culinary competitions
in the UK and abroad, and Beth has been mentored throughout by college Chef
Lecturer Chris Basten. Chris told us: “I’m immensely proud of Beth for all her
hard work and dedication, as well as her skill as a chef. It’s an amazing opportunity
for Beth to be representing not just the college, but her country in this international
competition and I hope she does really well and enjoys the experience.”
grateful for the support that she’s had from the college and from Chris in
particular. “Chef Basten selected me to compete in the competition and has been
so helpful – helping me work out which ingredients I’ll use for the first round
and guiding me though the things I’ll need to do in the competition. I’ve worked
hard for this and now that the Olympiad is nearly here, I can’t wait for it to
Unfortunately for Beth, who has never been to India before, the competition’s schedule, preparing for the different rounds and having to take a 2-hour flight from Delhi to Kolkata, means that there won’t be much time for sightseeing. “Whatever happens, I’m really going to enjoy the experience. I’m a bit nervous but excited too!”
As befits a global competition, there is a large international judging team, including internationally-renowned hospitality educator Professor David Foskett MBE, Anton Edelmann (who was maître chef de cuisines at The Savoy for over 20 years) and top UK chefs Brian Turner and Chris Galvin. Also in the judging team is the college’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts Programme Manager Paul Jervis. Paul told us: “We are all very proud of Beth for being selected for the Olympiad and everyone at Westminster Kingsway wishes her the very best of luck.”
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