Ryo Horiuchi, Head chef at Le Jardin in Tokyo has won the 54th Le Taittinger International Award for Cuisine d’Auteur, at the Corden Bleu Institute in Paris, after a 2-year delay to the final.
In the 55 years of the competition’s existence, this is the 3rd time someone from Japan has won. Horiuchi follows in the footsteps of Kenichiro Sekiya who won in 2018.
The French speaking chef has worked in several renowned French establishments during his career, working alongside Thierry Marx and Régis Marcon the Taittinger Prize Winner in 1989. Horiuchi possesses the French spirit, which has helped enhance his approach to orchestrating his winning dishes.
Le Taittinger was founded by Claude Taittinger as a tribute to his father, Pierre Taittinger, the founder of the eponymous Champagne house. The mission has always been to demand the highest standard of technical skills from chefs with a vision of great ambition. As part of Taittinger’s commitment to young chefs, the competition is open to chefs between the ages of 24 and 40 years, with a minimum of 5 years of professional experience.
In 2000 the current President of the House, Vitalie Taittinger, revitalised the prize, introducing a ‘hero ingredient’ for each year. This new structure gave candidates more freedom for creativity.
The champion ingredient for this year’s competitors was beef, sourced from the south of Aisne in Château-Thierry. This simple theme gave the chefs room and freedom for creativity.
The finalists were from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and The Netherlands. Their main goal, impressing the President of the international award and 3 Michelin star holder, Emmanuel Renaut, as well as the kitchen jury.
Among the necessary skills and precision, the jury was looking for emotion in the ambitious chefs’ beef dishes. The second task was to create a recipe for a starter of spring vegetables, which proved to be tricky and required a solid foundation of technical expertise.
The UK finalist this year was Deepak Mallya from The Ritz, who is particularly known for his exceptional talent in sauces. Among the runners up were Louis Cespedes from Sweden, who came second, and Jan Smink from The Netherlands, who came third.