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Competition

"Chef of the Year": finalists have been announced

Frankfurt, München

Culinary highlights in the Allianz Arena at the preliminary round

Foto: Alexnader Koch
Die Finalisten des "Koch des Jahres" 2024
Foto: KDJ/Melanie Christian Poschner
Simon Scheuerlein: Rolling Potatoe
Foto: KDJ/Melanie Bauer Photodesign
Florian Kornexl: Beef and Chips | Beef Tatar im Kartoffelmantel | Hollandaise | Coleslaw | Bärlauch | Kartoffelknusper
Foto(s): KDJ/Melanie Bauer Photodesign
Siegermenü von Alexander Högner
Foto: Melanie Bauer Photodesign
Siegermenü von Christoph Ehler
Foto: KDJ/Christian Poschner
Siegermenü von Ivan Lazarenko
Foto: Christian Poschner
Siegermenü von Jaspar Wcislo
Foto: KDJ/Melanie Bauer Photodesign
Lily Hartley und Jan Nachtigall
Foto: KDJ/Melanie Bauer Photodesign
Sieger-Pairing der Copa Jerez

MUNICH.  On 4 and 5 May, the Allianz Arena was transformed into a culinary venue. With the "Chef of the Year", "Spain Fusion" and "Copa Jerez" events, the gastronomic spectacle delighted over 1000 guests. The six finalists of the "Chef of the Year" competition were chosen in a live competition and by public vote at the "Epicurean Night". Other highlights of the event included the ceremonial selection of the winners of the Copa Jerez, the Best Plating Award and the Eatkini® Challenge, as well as a successful finale with a kitchen party and "Spain Night Out".

Gastronomic spectacle with more than 1,000 guests

On 4 and 5 May, an extraordinary gastronomy spectacle took place at the Allianz Arena in Munich, attracting over 1,000 trade visitors, top restaurateurs, journalists, influencers and food enthusiasts. Three high-calibre specialist events provided enthusiasm, excitement and moments of enjoyment.

At the "Copa Jerez", the largest international gastronomy competition on the subject of sherry pairing, three candidate teams presented their food pairings in front of a high-calibre jury, while the public was able to taste the best sherries.

The gastronomy symposium "Spain Fusion" inspired with an impressive tasting area with over 70 Spanish products, exciting masterclasses with experts such as Lucia Freitas (Restaurant A Tafona*. Santiago de Compostela, Spain) or Renè Frank (CODA Dessert Dining**, Berlin) and the unforgettable evening event "Spain Night Out".

The big highlight was the most prestigious competition for professional chefs "Chef of the Year" - 16 top chefs battled it out in a breathtaking live competition to reach the final. Following the awards ceremony, the winners were celebrated at a legendary kitchen party!

A special highlight of the event was the breathtaking location in the VIP area of the Allianz Arena. The event was organised by ROIKA Solutions GmbH. The host on site was the world's leading catering provider DO & CO.

Epicurean Night:  Two wildcards for the competition final

On 4 May, the exclusive kitchen party "Epicurean Night" caused a sensation. Over 300 food enthusiasts, top chefs, press representatives and influencers experienced a unique culinary highlight. The top candidates in the "Chef of the Year" competition each presented an exclusive dish. What made it special was that the guests took on the role of the jury and gave an online rating for each dish. The two candidates with the best scores secured the coveted wildcards for the final via this public vote.

The wild card winners of the kitchen party are: 

  • Simon Scheuerlein, Head Chef, Bayerischer Hof, Spalt (Bavaria) alongside assistant Lucia Ronellenfitsch, Chef de Partie, Bayerischer Hof, Spalt
  • Florian Kornexl, Head Chef, Gasthaus Kornexl, Untergriesbach (Bavaria) alongside assistant Marcel von Winckelmann, Head Chef, Restaurant Marcel von Winckelmann, Passau.

They will join the competition winners in the final.

Four candidates impressed in the live competition

In the "Chef of the Year" live competition on 5 May in the Allianz Arena, 16 teams of candidates competed against each other, who had prevailed out of 400 applications in the written preliminary round. On the day of the competition, they had five hours to prepare their competition menus for the high-calibre judges. The 16 candidates competed in two groups of eight teams each, and the best two from each group went through to the final. Their competition menu had to fulfil the following requirements: Basket value €16 per person, starter: Vegetarian, main course: classic French, dessert: seasonal herbs

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The winners of the competition are:

  • Alexander Högner, Head Chef, Herzog, Munich alongside Assistant: Sonja Denninger, Sous Chef, Herzog, Munich
  • Christoph Ehler, Sous Chef, Leonardo Royal Hotel, Nuremberg alongside Assistant: Entihal Khatib, Chef de Partie, Leonardo Royal Hotel, Nuremberg
  • Ivan Lazarenko, Head Chef, Hallo Emil, Stuttgart alongside Assistants: Patrick Ködel, Deputy Head Chef, Hallo Emil, Stuttgart
  • Jaspar Wcislo, Sous Chef Restaurant Agata's*, Düsseldorf alongside assistants: Marcel Förster, Head Chef, Agata's*, Düsseldorf

The four competition winners and the two wild card winners will go through to the final, which will take place on 21 October at the Kameha Grand in Bonn. This is not only about the most prestigious title in the industry, but also about prize money of €5,000 and other highly endowed prizes from the sponsors, such as the sustainability prize from HOBART, which is awarded with a high-quality professional dishwasher.

Special prize for the best plating

The company Churchill, which has sponsored the competition since 2024, awarded the special "Best Plate Design" prize to the two candidates with the best visual presentation of their menu on 5 May in the Allianz Arena. Jaspar Wicslo (Sous Chef Restaurant Agata's* Düsseldorf) and Alexander Högner (Head Chef, Herzog, Munich) were the winners. The winners can look forward to a voucher worth €1000 each.

Almost 30 stars in one jury

Some of the most renowned Michelin-starred and top chefs from German-speaking countries decided on the candidates' performances. Almost 30 stars were united at the jury table, including Jan Hartwig (JAN***, Munich), Tohru Nakamura (Tohru in der Schreiberei**, Munich), Rosina Ostler (Alois - Dallmayr Fine Dining**, Munich), three-star legend Dieter Müller, Mike Suesser (TV chef) and many more. They were impressed by the high standard of the candidates.

"Today's contestants have shown an impressive level. It is obvious that there are full professionals at work here who have mastered their craft and mastered the challenges in a creative and versatile way. Chef of the Year is undoubtedly the most prestigious competition in the German-speaking world, and taking part offers the best opportunity to establish a name for yourself as well as for the restaurant." - Dieter Müller, jury president.

Best sandwich

In a special challenge, the competition candidates presented their interpretation of the Spanish sandwich classic "Bikini" - their so-called "Eatkini®". Their performances were judged by renowned personalities from the worlds of entertainment, media and gastronomy, including Bernd Breiter (World Club Dome, Big City Beats), Verina Zimmermann (Fraport AG), Andi Schinharl (ZuGast) and others. In the end, Christopher Knippschild (owner & head chef, The Dining Room, Cham (Switzerland)) and Ivan Lazarenko (head chef, Hallo Emil, Stuttgart) came out on top. The two now have the unique opportunity to present their Eatkini® to the exclusive audience of Fraport AG's VIP services.  

Winning team of the Copa Jerez

On 5 May, three teams battled it out for a place in the international final of the largest gastronomy competition for sherry wines. Jan Nachtigall and Lily Hartley from Teko by Lange Rodriguez in Essen impressed the judges and will go through to the international final, where they will represent Germany in May 2025 against teams from Denmark, the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium.

Winning dishes:

The competition menus of the winners:

Alexander Högner

  • Starter: Liquid potato gnocchi on white asparagus mousse, Marinated green asparagus, Airy hollandaise sauce
  • Main course: Lièvre à la Royale (wild hare) foie gras, root vegetables, stuffed morels, mushrooms (topped), pommes soufflées & potato pithivier
  • Dessert: Yoghurt mousse with pea and tarragon sorbet, fresh peas, sorrel lassi, coconut gel & white pineapple strawberry

Christoph Ehler

  • Starter: Tomato & tonburi
  • Main course: Saddle of beef pithivier / celeriac & kohlrabi / béarnaise sauce
  • Dessert: geranium & strawberry

Ivan Lazarenko

  • Starter: Alblinse, Black Forest miso, Krause Glucke, Munster
  • Main course: Bouillabaisse, red mullet, ratatouille, nduja
  • Dessert: Baba au Rhum, Earl Grey, coriander, pineapple, coconut

Jaspar Wcislo

  • A starter: Asparagus, egg and chives
  • Main course: Veal cheeks, artichoke and paprika
  • Dessert: Frankfurter green herbs, goat and strawberry

The dishes of the Epicurean Night winners:

Simon Scheuerlein: Rolling Potatoe

Florian Kornexl: Beef and Chips | Beef Tatar in a potato coat | Hollandaise | Coleslaw | Wild garlic | Potato crisp

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