Everyone in the kitchen for 10th International Southern European Cooking Competition in Thessaloniki

10th International Southern European Cooking Competition in Thessaloniki

The kitchens were set up and are literally on fire! Young chefs from southern Europe, perfectly focused, were hunched over ingredients and cookware, creating tastes in order to win the vote of the judges.

This was the setting of 10th International Southern European Cooking Competition organized by the Chefs Club of Northern Greece within the context of the Detrop Exhibition, the first exhibition in Greece of the food & beverage industry which took place at Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre from 3-6 March.

As he told Grekomania Mr. George Mastrodimitris, President of the Chefs Club of Northern Greece, the competition has been ongoing for 20 years and is the biggest event organized by the club. This year it hosted 480 participants from 12 countries. For 2017 the Club is promoting Macedonian Cuisine and the region’s chief products- rice, mussels, sea food- a new project created by the Region of Central Macedonia.

Is the pursuit of professional cooking worth the effort? The answer to this question was given to Grekomania by Nana Gkampoura, a young Greek chef, and judge at the 10th International Cooking Contest, who has won many awards and has her own column in the newspaper.

"Cooking is love and at the same time terrifically demanding job,”Gkampoura says. “It leaves you little free time, so if you don’t love it, better not to get involved.”

She got the cooking bug from her family which has been passed on for 4 generations; a family tradition in the restaurant business which is now expressed at her restaurant in Kozani. At the same time she works alongside of her father Epiphanius. In fact, her mother was one of the first female members of the Chefs Club of Northern Greece.

As for the competition, Gkampoura says that "the expertise level is high. To participate in a cooking contest is very difficult which is why the participants should be congratulated, as well as their instructors.”

After the painstaking completion the time for awards came. The announcement of the names of winners in the different categories were greeted with rejoicing and applause in the hall. The new blood of Greek- and not just Greek- chefs are getting ready to conquer the kitchens of the world!