Vietnamese Chef Wins International Culinary Competition in Italy

A Vietnamese female chef, MasterChef Italia 2023 Runner-up, continues to win an international culinary competition in Italy.
May 10, 2024 | 08:35

Thanks to a vegetarian dish using two familiar Vietnamese ingredients, a 29-year-old Hanoi born Dinh Thi Hue surpassed 9 prestigious chefs from many countries, winning the international culinary competition held in Italy.

Previously, Hue was known as the first Vietnamese to finish second in the prestigious Masterchef Italy 2023 competition.

That's how RaiNews, the news site of the Italian National Television (RAI), described Hue's victory at the international culinary competition QOCO 2024 for chefs worked in many famous restaurants with Michelin stars from around the world.

Vietnamese Chef Wins Int'l Culinary Competition in Italy
Hue was the only Asian contestant to participate in the contest and win, reported by Italian National Television

QOCO, whose objective is to bring together the experiences and cross-cultural influences of young Euro-Mediterranean chefs, is a competition of the highest level where the only winner is who have the best understanding of the quality of extra virgin olive oil and that is demonstrated through the dishes they make. The 16th edition of “QOCO, a trickle of extra virgin olive oil in the plate” took place in Andria (Puglia, Italy) from March 22 to 24.

With a dish made from fruits and vegetables called "Basta due fili", Hue, the only young Asian female chef at the competition, surpassed 9 chefs selected by the Association of European Young Restaurants (Jeunes Restaurateurs d'Europ, JRE) to be named at the highest position.

The competition has a total of 10 chefs from many places such as Italy, France, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland.

"It wouldn't be me without Vietnam in my dishes..."

In an interview with Thanh Nien newspaper, Hue said that when she received the invitation from the organizers, she was very hesitant because she was very busy with work at Trattoria Trippa, a famous restaurant in Milan. However, with the approval of the restaurant's chef, Diego Rossi, she came to Andria to participate in the competition with a relaxed spirit, seeing this as an opportunity for her to learn, explore and have culinary experiences. new.

Knowing her competitors, Hue said she was really surprised, because they were all good chefs with many years of experience compared to her.

Vietnamese Chef Wins Int'l Culinary Competition in Italy
Dinh Thi Hue admits she was not a good cook before taking part in the intense competition. She traveled to Italy in 2016 to study international relations. Photo provided by Hue

With the task of making a dish that enhances local olive oil, Hue decided to cook a vegetarian dish called Basta due fili.

She uses the main ingredients consist of mashed purple potatoes, adding a little roasted peanuts, mustard seeds, vinegar, salt and pepper. Above, it is decorated like a colorful flower garden with pickled radishes, red radishes, boiled chopped onions, boiled onions in red wine, boiled purple onions with vinegar and sugar. The dish also has the two distinctly Vietnamese ingredients which is rice paper rolls and a mixture of coconut milk mixed with salt, green onions and cornstarch. On top of this mixture, are blended drops of extra virgin olive oil.

For the entire dish, Hue mainly boiled the ingredients and used only one type of olive oil to highlight the "main character", as required by the assignment. The dish seems simple, but every detail is cared for and meticulously researched, bringing a pure plant-based culinary experience, as described by Hue, "Each spoon will have a different flavor, like a game between sour, spicy, salty, sweet, pungent, raw - cooked, hot - cold, solid - soft, a balance between simple and complex, but the lingering aftertaste still stands out with the olive oil."

She has a special memory with the person who brought her food to present to the judges when he complimented the dish saying, "It was colorful, harmonious like a garden and gave him a pleasant feeling."

Explaining why she chose to use Vietnamese ingredients in her dish, the female chef said that in her dishes, there are always some Vietnamese ingredients. "It wouldn't be me without that. There must be a little something Vietnamese in my dishes, otherwise, I won't be able to stand it and the same goes for this dish," she hightlighted.

Vietnamese Chef Wins Int'l Culinary Competition in Italy
The vegetarian dish helps Vietnamese woman win. Photo provided by Hue

Unexpected victory

In the moment she knew she was the winner, the Vietnamese female chef couldn't hide her surprise. She said that for her, cuisine is not a competition. It is a place for you and everyone to be able to indulge your love and passion, and express your personality in your dishes.

However, this achievement is also a great joy and motivation for Hue to continue pursuing her culinary dream in Italy.

After her runner-up achievement in the 2023 Masterchef Italy, Hue still persistently pursues her passion and love for cuisine. She describes food as pure love, where she finds happiness and meaning in her life.

Vietnamese Chef Named One of the Most Powerful Women in Middle East Vietnamese Chef Named One of the Most Powerful Women in Middle East

Vietnamese chef Lily Hoa Nguyen, founder, CEO of the famous, award-winning Vietnamese Foodies restaurant chain (Dubai) was crowded one of the most powerful women of ...

"Blind Chef" Christine Ha, Agritage Vietnam Deliver Empowering Talk to Ethnic Viet Women

During the discussion about "Female entrepreneurs: Opportunities and Challenges in Vietnam and in the US", Christine Ha, American-Vietnamese chef/businesswoman, and Dinh Thi Huyen, Founder of ...

Csaba Szabo: Hungarian Chef Who Brings his Homeland Cuisine to Vietnam Csaba Szabo: Hungarian Chef Who Brings his Homeland Cuisine to Vietnam

“The reason I am still here is thanks to the openness and hospitality of the Vietnamese people. I like everything as it is: the unique ...

Hannah Nguyen
Phiên bản di động