Arriving back in Bali on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, after the long series of flights from Chile, I Wayan Wicaya received an enthusiastic welcome due a returning hero from friends, family and colleagues at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport. Too precious to be entrusted to his luggage, Wayan was carrying a trophy signifying one of the culinary world's most prestigious honors Ė winner of the Global Chefs Challenge 2010.
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One of the largest individual chefs competitions in the world and sponsored by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS)
, the Global Chefs Challenge
saw talented chefs from 88 counties who had won seven continental semi-finalists competing for the top prize in Santiago.
Held once every two years, the final round of competition sees chefs from seven regions prepare a four-course dinner for twelve people. Prepared and presented under the unforgiving gaze of a blue-ribbon panel of Master Chefs, judges rate the meal on culinary, hygiene and preparation standards.
The Final "cook-off" in Chile saw chefs from Indonesia (Bali), Norway, Canada, Portugal, Holland, Dubai and Australia vie for the gold cup.
Before competing in Santiago, I Wayan Wicaya, Executive Sous Chef at the Bulgari Resort Bali
had to travel an arduous two-year battery of local, national and regional competitions before earning the right to represent Indonesia and Asia in the world finals. "The road to Chile was paved with hard work, skill, creativity and many smaller hurdles and to win this most prestigious prize is absolutely amazing and a confirmation of how far Indonesia has come in developing our local chefs to international standards," said Darren Lauder of Nusa Dua Beach Hotel
who is also Vice-President of Bali Culinary Professionals (BCP).
Chef Andrew Skinner, serving as team coach, and the kitchen brigade at Bulgari,
supported Wicayaís bid.
Obviously, Wayan is delighted with his prize, saying: "Winning the title of Global Chef Asia was one of the highlights of my career. I remembered to stay calm and focused and just did my best. It was an amazing experience and I am very happy for myself and for my colleagues who have supported me and given me the confidence to take on this great challenge."
Joining Wicaya in Chile was the BCPís
first scholarship student, Alex Tanuhardja, who currently works as Commis Chef
at Buglari Resort
in Bali, and also serves as the President of the Bali Young Chefs Club.
In Santiago each competing chef is allowed an apprentice/assistant to help prepare the four-course meal. Alex has been with the chef throughout the competition, exposed to the highest level of expertise as he competed against Michelin-starred
chefs from Europe, America, Australia and Africa.
There was also a wine-pairing competition held in conjunction with the Global Chef Challenge
. Wayan, perhaps badly in need of a drink in the face of such stiff competition, was allowed to taste 8 premiere Chilean wines to pair 3 of the wines with his menu. Indonesia also won this award, creating a clean sweep for Wicaya and Indonesia.
"We are all so impressed by this effort and the win is the final confirmation that Indonesiaís chefs are capable of competing against the very best on any culinary stage. Here is the proof," said Andrew Skinner, "A Balinese chef has completely blown away the competition to take this prestigious title. For the Indonesian team just to have made it to the final was a dream, to win is beyond words."
"We went to Santiago with no expectations whatsoever. We were considered the dark horse. But what it shows is on the day (of competition) unbelievable things can happen. However we also believe this was no fluke, because we felt we would be well below the required standard, we rehearsed and practiced like you would not imagine, just to ensure we did not embarrass ourselves on the world stage. And then we won!" continued Skinner.
"We are so proud to have represented, Indonesia, Bali Culinary Professionals and ourselves at this level of competition. To win is just fantastic."
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