Apprentice chef Amity takes on world’s best at Culinary Olympics

Mar 19, 2024

Amity Lobb at the Culinary Olympics in Germany

Apprentice chef Amity Lobb has broadened her experience and sharpened her competitive edge participating in the IKA Culinary Olympics in Germany.

Amity, who works at Adelaide Oval and studied at TAFE SA, was part of the Australian Culinary Federation’s National Youth Team which competed in Germany in February.

The team returned to Australia with silver and bronze medals, an impressive feat says Amity who was a late inclusion in the group.

“Joining the national team last minute was daunting but it was such an educational event to be part of - it’s not every day that you see chefs from 25 countries competing in the kitchen,” she says.

The IKA Culinary Olympics is the oldest and largest culinary arts competition, this year attracting 1800 participants and 100,000 visitors.

Held every four years, the event brings together teams of chefs from around the world to produce dishes requiring a high level of skill and creativity.

The Australian Culinary Federation sent a youth team and a senior team to this year’s competition, and while the youth team had been together for some time, an unexpected vacancy came up late in 2023.

Amity, who was the South Australian regional winner of the Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat competition in 2023, was eager to apply to join the team.

Juggling work and study commitments, she travelled to Perth over several weekends so the team of eight, from all parts of the country, could practice together and raise vital funds for the trip to Germany.

Amity finished her TAFE SA training in November 2023 and says she appreciated the support of her lecturers, who moved her classes around to accommodate her trips to Perth.

In Germany, the youth teams were required to produce a six-course degustation menu for 12 people. Their second task was to prepare a three-course a-la-carte style menu and provide dinner service for a 70-seat restaurant.

“The international standard for competitions is extremely high and I think we did really well, considering some of the teams work together or live close enough to train regularly,” Amity says.

“I really enjoyed meeting chefs from around Australia who were involved in the event and just the scale of international competition; the skills were amazing and it’s mind-blowing to watch it all come together.”

An estimated 8000 menus were crafted by chefs and culinary teams from around the world over the six days of the event.

Amity says she learnt a lot by watching other countries compete and the experience has only increased her appetite for cooking in a competitive environment.

“It’s changed the way I think about my competition dishes and I’ll be more adventurous in future,” she says.