MONACO, March 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Marco Tognon won the Superyacht Chef Competition at the Yacht Club de Monaco. The event was held for the fourth year at the YCM in partnership with Bluewater and under the aegis of YCM’s La Belle Classe Academy training centre and the Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting approach. The culinary competition aimed to put the spotlight on gourmet cuisine at sea as being another facet of yachting professions. “It’s very important to us at the Yacht Club de Monaco to be a meeting platform for the industry and at the same time be able to combine the young generation with the owners. The network aspect is also very relevant in this kind of event,” said YCM secretary general, Bernard d’Alessandri. The award ceremony was held at the presence of the Prince Albert II of Monaco, president of the YCM.
Tognon, who is 29 years old and from Padua, has been cooking on yachts since 2017. He is currently the chef of Planet Nine, a 73-metre megayacht. He won the competition with a main course of lobster and a dessert of pineapple and mascarpone cream. “I am very happy to have joined this competition and I felt confident I could win. When I cook I am pragmatic and haven’t focused as much on what other people were doing as much as challenging myself,” he said.
The participants had to deal with a mystery basket and ‘last-minute’ ingredients chosen by the public. Chairing the 2023 edition was the two time three Michelin star chef Yannick Alléno, considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest chefs, with a strong focus on French cuisine and its heritage. He is also globally recognised for master-minding Modern Cuisine, a movement he initiated in 2013. “You have to be very creative. When you are on board you have to cook breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. It’s a huge work in a very small kitchen. I think it’s the most difficult position in the chef industry. In the competition we can see how they’re so creative. They don’t know the product and they only have 40 minutes to cook so they have to be very quick. We have to think about the waste. The food is so precious today so we have to think about it, of course,” added Alleno.
Among the professionals that came to judge the competition there were Chef Nicolas Petit (M/Y Latitude), winner in 2022, Chef Benoît Nicolas, ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’ 2015 in the gastronomic cuisine category, and Chef Cristina Bowerman, traditional Italian cuisine specialist influenced by her many experiences abroad. “I am glad to be here to be part of this jury. Many chef that I know have actually switched career from regular kitchens at the restaurant to board on yachts. You have to be very well organized and be very sensitive to every single ingredients in the kitchen. What I expected was not only a combination of flavors but also attention to sustainability. They’re sensitive to different way of cooking and saving plastic as well. I am certified plastic free and hope that everybody is gonna follow that trend and is going to be sensitive to this topic which is very important right now,” said Bowerman.
This year the nine superyacht chefs had to comply with anti-waste criteria requiring contestants to use every single ingredient in the mystery basket or receive a penalty, applied in accordance with an external scoring grid. British Chef Duncan Biggs who officiates on superyachts was in charge of this aspect of the competition.
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