Help GAA Provide Student Chefs with a Life-Changing Experience

For the second consecutive year, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) held a student chef cooking competition at its GOAL 2018 conference in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The purpose of the competition is to provide student chefs with a life-changing experience while partnering with local culinary institutions to work responsible aquaculture into their curriculums. Oftentimes, student chefs’ knowledge of and experience with farmed seafood is limited, and GAA hopes to raise awareness of responsible aquaculture by engaging with the culinary institutions who are shaping the future of cooking and foodservice.

This year’s competition was held at the Escuela Culinary de las Americas on Sept. 22, just minutes from Hilton Colon Guayaquil, the location of GOAL 2018. Three finalists were selected among 60 applicants, all students at culinary institutions across Ecuador. The three finalists were Fernando Correa of the Gastronomic Training Group, Andrea Lieno Tayken of Academia Bulienauea LCA and Joseph Delgado of Escuela Culinary de las Americas. They had 90 minutes to prepare the recipe that they submitted for the competition. All recipes were required to feature farmed seafood. Correa prepared paiche, or Amazonia cod, while Tayken worked with rainbow trout and Delgado worked with tilapia.

The finalists were then recognized on Day 2 of the GOAL 2018 conference on Sept. 26 and presented with a prize. Correa was named the winner, receiving a five-day training session at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London, with an opportunity to meet world renowned chef Raymond Blanc. Delgado placed second, earning a five-day training session at the Hilton Colon Guayaquil, while Tayken placed third, earning a five-day training session at the Best Western Premier Sail Plaza in Manta, Ecuador’s only five-star resort hotel.

The ceremony was emceed by Mike Berthet, market development manager for GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification program, who also organized the cooking competition. The judges were Mauricio Armendaris, continental director-Americas for the World Association of Chefs Societies, and George Smith, a World Master Chef and instructor at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology; Smith was a judge for the inaugural cooking competition at GOAL 2017 in Dublin, Ireland.

Also during the ceremony, last year’s winner, Sarah McCabe of the Dublin Institute of Technology, was recognized as BAP’s first ambassadorial student chef and presented with a chef coat with the blue BAP label.

The third annual student chef cooking competition will be held at the GOAL 2019 conference in Chennai, India, from Oct. 24 to 27. Planning for the competition is already in the works, and GAA is looking for its first cooking competition sponsor so that the organization can continue to provide student chefs with a life-changing experience while working with culinary institutions to add responsible aquaculture to their curriculums. Interested? Contact GAA’s Sally Kreuger at or GAA’s Steven Hedlund at