“An Experienced Jury is Usually Close Together” Just like the IKA participants, the jury members also come from all over the world. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics

Frankfurt am Main/Stuttgart, 9 January 2024 –When the IKA/Culinary Olympics opens its doors in Stuttgart in a few weeks’ time, it won’t “just” be around 1,200 chefs putting on their chef’s jackets. About 60 international judges will be an important part of the competition in Stuttgart. We talked to IKA Jury President Frank Widmann.

No competition without impartial judges: Mr. Widmann, how is the IKA jury organised? 

Frank Widmann: Each competition category has its own chairman, who in turn guides the jury members through the competition. It goes without saying that the judgement of a jury member from the country of the respective participant is not taken into account. They are supported by the so-called observers, who are deployed by Worldchefs at events worldwide. Their task during the IKA will be to observe and document the proceedings. 

What criteria are used to appoint judges and what do they need to bring to the table? 

We make sure that they have been an active member of a national culinary team in the past, that they can speak English and that they have completed the Worldchefs seminars. In addition, a previous so-called “rookie” activity is a prerequisite, without full participation. When selecting the jury members, there is another important argument that counts for me: The cuisine of the respective nation must be understood, which means that there should be at least one jury member who can categorise the country’s cuisine. 

How do you reach a consent on the final points? 

Each jury member scores for themselves and follows the given points system, for example a maximum of 50 points can be awarded for flavour. An experienced jury is usually very close in the subsequent evaluation of the points, so that the total points are determined relatively quickly. If the individual scores differ by more than ten points, questions are asked and an explanation requested. This leads to a discussion in order to reach the best possible consent. 

How can the jury’s work be categorised in an international context and what influence will it have on future competitions? 

Our primary task on the Worldchefs Culinary Committee is to promote the culinary art and always ensure that the judging is fair and correct. Not all suggestions or ideas can be realised during a major international competition. On the one hand, each location has different requirements and external conditions, and on the other hand, the ideas must also be implemented with the available resources. Despite all the standards and necessary, general rules, the respective organiser should have the “last word” when it comes to regulations and their implementation. The respective country is responsible for the success of a competition. In my view, it is at least as important that experienced jurors are involved in the further development of competitions internationally and are open for an exchange with the next generation. 

Thank you. 

These are the jury members

Overview of teams, menus and how to get there: www.culinary-olympics.com/visitors 


Photos may be used free of charge as part of the coverage about IKA/Culinary Olympics with the respective image source “IKA/Culinary Olympics”.

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Just like the IKA participants, the jury members also come from all over the world. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics
Just like the IKA participants, the jury members also come from all over the world. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics
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IKA Jury President Frank Widmann. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics
01 Jury Tasting ©ika Culinary Olympics
Taste is an important evaluation factor for the IKA jury. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics

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