Prodeca supports upcoming talents in Catalan cuisine and accompanies Catalan chefs in international competitions to help them kick-start their career. Mariona Rodà, a finalist in the 2019 Young Catalan Chef Competition, took part in the European Young Chef Award in Greece. At the end of the contest, Rodà cooked a traditional crema Catalana and made a contemporary version of the dish entitled 'Catalonia - an autumnal walk in the forest'.  The young chef explained why she chose this recipe: “Crema Catalana is the first dish I learned to cook as a child and I wanted to combine these desserts with the tradition of the Castanyada ['chestnut festival', usually celebrated on 1 November]. In the more contemporary version, the crema is transformed into a panna cotta with all the flavours of autumn: chestnut, sweet potato, ratafia, panellet [a traditional Catalan sweet eaten on this day] and beetroot." 

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The European Young Chef Award is organised by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) in collaboration with culinary arts institutions from the Regions of Gastronomy. Competition finalists from around Europe come together to present and exchange knowledge on traditional dishes and local food products from their regions, and to compete with their own innovative reinterpretations of traditional recipes before a jury of international chefs and experts.



The aims of the competition are to foster innovation in traditional cooking, highlight the value of sustainable food cultures, and help to create future chef ambassadors for the regions and promote local food products. 

The competition is part of the legacy of the Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy 2016 project, an initiative supported by the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food, through Prodeca, and the Regional Ministry of Enterprise and Knowledge, through the Catalan Tourist Board, in addition to numerous other bodies in the fields of agri-food and food tourism. This award has shone a light on differing European food cultures, increased education for healthy and sustainable nutrition, encouraged food innovation, and ultimately contributed to a better quality of life for people. 

In addition, Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy 2016 sought to showcase local agri-food produce as a unique advocate of the region and the foundation for cuisine that adds a particular nuance to the culture, as well as to position Catalonia through its products and cuisine and as a food tourism destination.