Young chefs innovate Minho’s cuisine at the MYCA 2020

Young chefs innovate Minho’s cuisine at the MYCA 2020

21 December 2020Pedro Cruz and Andreia Costa take home the trophies for Best Kitchen Chef and Best Bar Chef at the Minho Young Chef Awards 2020.

An excellent technique and engaging storytelling earned Pedro Cruz the Best Kitchen Chef prize at the 3rd Minho Young Chef Awards (MYCA), held on 17 December 2020 in the renovated food court of the Municipal Market of Braga in the region of Minho, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016 by IGCAT.

With his innovative dish Galo Contradição based on rooster marinated in green wine, mashed spinach, potato crunchy and chives pickle, the 18-year-old from the professional school ETAP managed to distinguish himself over the other contestants. “Pedro was a competitor who stood out for his originality, technique and preservation of traditional flavours and aromas,” explained António Loureiro, President of the Jury.

“I chose to use the rooster to represent my city and to honor my grandfather and the first dish I cooked with him,” explained Pedro, whose innovative recipe was inspired by his hometown Barcelos and his childhood memories.

Besides electing the Best Kitchen Chef, the MYCA 2020 awarded Andreia Costa, from the professional school Amar a Terra Verde, as Best Bar Chef for her cocktail Jardim de Amores made with green wine, Gin Valley and orange syrup.

The MYCA 2020 jury was chaired by Michelin-starred chef António Loureiro and included: chef Renato Cunha; chef Francisco Pavão; chef José Vinagre; Carlos Fernandes, IGCAT expert and Grand Master of the Confraternity of the Gastronomers of Minho; the journalist Rui Miguel; and Rui Meira, winner of the MYCA 2019 and finalist to the European Young Chef Award 2019, organised by IGCAT.

This year’s competition included four new prizes: the Territory Award that was given to the young chef André Carvalho for preparing a dry soup from Minho (a lesser known, but well-representative dish from the region); Best Table Service won by Mário Gonçalves; Best Wine and Beer Pairing awarded to Andreia Costa; and Best Coffee Service given to Cátia Gonçalves. The awards were sponsored by Letra, Soalheiro, Cafés Christina and Novumdux.

“It was a challenge to arrange and coordinate the competition and its different categories, but in the end the result was fantastic,” affirmed Rafael Oliveira, head of the organisation team. He also highlighted that “the aim to bring the young chefs closer to local producers was very well achieved. Definitely an experience that we will repeat in the coming years.”

The Minho Young Chef Awards is a competition promoted by the MINHO Innovation Consortium, which integrates the three Intermunicipal Communities of Alto Minho, Cávado and Ave. A flagship project of Minho’s legacy as European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016, the initiative aims to strengthen the ties between the different communities in the area and reinforce a common identity in the Minho region by supporting the young chefs as ambassadors of gastronomic innovation and local products.

About the Regions of Gastronomy Platform   

Candidate and awarded Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness; stimulate creativity and gastronomic innovation; educate for better nutrition; improve sustainable tourism standards; highlight distinctive food cultures; and strengthen community well-being.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health and local economies.

IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the Regions of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the Young Chef Award, the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.