From 14 to 19 February 2020, the 25th IKA/Culinary Olympics took place for the first time in Stuttgart. The organiser is delighted with the positive response.
Around 1800 participants, including 110 teams and roughly 800 individual exhibitors, from 67 countries were responsible for creating a magical Olympic atmosphere in the Stuttgart exhibition halls from 14 to 19 February 2020. For the first time ever, the IKA/Culinary Olympics were held here, parallel to the Intergastra and Gelatissimo – thus attracting more than 100,000 visitors to the halls of the capital city of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. With an area of 117,000 m² and direct transport links, Messe Stuttgart, the city’s trade fair centre, offered the perfect logistical conditions to accommodate the flow of visitors and participants. The organiser of the IKA, the Verband der Köche Deutschlands e. V. (VKD – German Chefs’ Association), received special on-site support from the great work done by Messe Stuttgart, Dehoga Baden-Württemberg and the numerous honorary VKD members.
The Olympics set culinary trends
In a total of 22 professionally equipped kitchens built especially for the IKA, the teams cooked around 8,000 meals for the visitors over the four days of the competition – setting culinary trends. “Whereas a lot was cooked sous-vide at the Culinary Olympics four years ago, the trend at the IKA 2020 was once again towards cooking with open heat,” IKA jury president Frank Widmann summed up. In culinary terms, the trend at this year’s Culinary Olympics has moved away from unusual and expensive products. “Instead, the teams have managed to create a unique and outstanding flavour from simple and regional products from their own country,” Widmann stated. The jury president was assisted in the evaluation of the dishes by a total of 67 jurors from all over the world. This time round, the Olympic champions were Norway in the category National Teams, Sweden in the category Youth National Teams and The National Culinary Team Denmark in the category Community Catering and Military Teams. Le Cercle des Chefs de Cuisine Lucerne won the IKA Cup.
Community and thrilling moments
The emotional atmosphere during the IKA/Culinary Olympics was generated not only by the professional chefs in white, but also by the numerous fans that cheered on their teams in front of the glass kitchens and shared in their teams’ excitement. From the opening of the IKA on 14 February to the big award ceremony on 19 February, they created thrilling moments every single second with flags, fan chants and furore. The IKA not only provided an opportunity for chefs to compete fairly with professionals from all over the world, but also to celebrate the community of the white guild. “The IKA/Culinary Olympics is the perfect setting for the international family of chefs to come together and devote themselves to our shared great passion: cooking,” says Richard Beck, President of the VKD. “Once again, the Culinary Olympics were a very moving experience for all participants, visitors, fans – and for me. We at the German Chefs’ Association are already looking forward to two more great IKA/Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart in 2024 and 2028.”