Celebrating Vietnam’s Emerging Culinary Scene With Rising Chefs Challenge
thamnguyen99 11-03-2022, 15:00

For the past couple of months, Mastercard & Vietcetera have been celebrating the emerging food and beverage scene in Vietnam, highlighting its diversity and dynamics through a series of events and awards within the scope of Flavors Vietnam. Talented industry players have flexed their skills and abilities through these valuable showcases, including the Food & Beverage Conference and the Banh Mi Awards.

This March and April, Mastercard and Vietcetera have partnered with KOTO in Hanoi and The Center for Sponsoring - Vocational Training and Employment Introduction of Ho Chi Minh City to select five teams of rising young chefs in each city to compete in a priceless one-off event ‒ the Rising Chefs Challenge.

In Ha Noi, at the Almaz Convention Center, Long Bien District, contestants will prove their outstanding aptitude on March 25, with the five competing teams of:

  • Head chef Hoang Trung Hiếu and sous chef Nguyễn Hồng Nam
  • Head chef Nguyễn Dũng and sous chef Lý A Pao
  • Head chef Trịnh Văn Bắc and sous chef Giang Mí Hung
  • Head chef Vũ Hữu Bình and sous chef Vũ Thị Thanh
  • Head chef Hoang Văn Mạnh and sous chef Hoang Thị Linh

On April 1, the Rising Chefs Challenge Ho Chi Minh city will take place at the Q.uriosity Culinary Academy in District 7. The five Rising Chefs teams in HCMC this year are:

  • Head chef Le Văn Vũ and sous chef Lưu Thien Kim
  • Head chef Le Quang Bình and sous chef Dieu Minh Tiến
  • Head chef Võ Hoang Sang and sous chef Ngo Trường Minh
  • Head chef Phạm Hoai Sơn and sous chef Trần Bảo Đăng Khoa
  • Head chef Nguyễn Anh Khoa and sous chef Nguyễn Cat Đo
Trainees in action at KOTO (Know One, Teach One). KOTO runs a two-year culinary training program accredited by Box Hill Institute in Australia. | Source: KOTO

In this exciting, invite-only event, the teams in each city will embark on a journey of two main challenges, where our rising stars will test their limits and get creative to come up with dishes representative of the event’s main theme, Meaningful Moments. Joining the judges and our pioneers are their biggest fans and inspirations, the “inspiring ones”, be it their family members, close friends, or teachers of great influence and impact in their lives and their culinary journeys, along with our guests, who would be the judges to the chefs’ tasting menu.

Head Chef Le Quang Bình | Source: Tin Phung for Vietcetera

A twist in the challenge’s format lies in the list of ingredients provided to the teams. As a chance for contestants to think out of the box, only three of the main ingredients will be revealed in advance. At the same time, each team can add their own touch to the dishes as they are allowed to bring in three ingredients and two types of spices or sauces of their liking.

In the first round of the Rising Chefs Challenge, each team is expected to leverage the diverse ingredients and spices to come up with a full course meal including the appetizer, the main course that comes with a vegetarian option, and the dessert under the theme of Meaningful Moments.

After 90 minutes of preparing, the teams will present their final product to the judges, along with the story that inspired their special dishes. Our jury team of distinguished F&B players all over the country will announce their scores, which account for 70% of the final scores.

Everyone, well-versed in the culinary arts or not, has something to say about the kind of food they savor. Acknowledging this, the second round of the Rising Chefs Challenge welcomes many guests from a carefully curated list to evaluate contestants’ cooking skills.

Head Chef Phạm Hoai Sơn | Source: Tin Phung for Vietcetera

In this round, our players will have to recreate the very same dishes that they made in the previous round before displaying and serving their meal courses simultaneously as a “Tasting Menu.” To grasp the attention of our guests, chefs can get creative in their presentations. After having a bite of the chefs’ tasting menu, guests can vote on their favorite dishes through an online survey, which will contribute to 30% of contestants’ overall points.

After two challenging rounds, the team with the highest total points will be crowned the winner of the competition with a 10 million VND worth digital prepaid card, a short documentary, and an exclusive interview with Vietcetera. An 8 and 5 million VND prepaid card will be granted to the first and second runner-up respectively, and both will be featured on our social media network and gifted with various valuable presents from our sponsors.

Beyond this, the Rising Chefs Challenge is a not-to-be-missed event for young, promising chefs to build and expand their professional network with the big players in the F&B industry, a chance to earn their well-deserved media exposure beneficial to their culinary career, and above all, to prove themselves to the jury of distinguished chefs and influencers.

KOTO helps them pursue careers in hospitality so they can go on to work in restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes, and catering. | Source: KOTO

Accompanying Mastercard and Vietcetera in the Rising Chefs Challenge is The Center for Sponsoring - Vocational Training and Employment Introduction of Ho Chi Minh City and KOTO. With the goal of delivering free educational and vocational training and introducing underprivileged youth to employment opportunities, the Center for Sponsoring - Vocational Training and Employment Introduction of Ho Chi Minh City is founded on the reorganization of SESAME School. Meanwhile, as a non-profit social enterprise, KOTO aims to promote positive, permanent changes to vulnerable youth through hospitality training programs.

The Rising Chefs Challenge is an invite-only exclusive event. However, to re-live our young chefs’ journey in the Rising Chefs Challenge, stay tuned for the HCMC and Hanoi events’ replays released this upcoming April 15 & 22 on our YouTube channel, Vietcetera.