History

International Salon Culinaire has a rich history of being one the world’s top chef competitions. Starting in 1902, the competition has a reputation for launching emerging culinary talents into the UK hospitality industry. Read on to find out more about our 119 year long legacy. 

1902
1902

1902

The very first Salon Culinaire Competitions are held at the Royal Albert Hall.

1935
1935

1935

1935

Over 30,500 visitors attend the first International Hotel and Catering Exhibition at Olympia with 28 competition classes.

1937
1937

1937

1937

Over 34,000 attend the second edition of Hotel and Catering Exhibition.

1948
1948

1948

The exhibition is opened by Harold Wilson (former UK Prime Minister) who was at the time the President of the Board of Trade. Over 70,000 visitors attend over 9 days.

1965
1965

1965

1965

Le Salon Culinaire International de Londres is incorporated into the show with live cooking competitions.

1988
1988

1988

1988

The Queen Mother visits the exhibition now known as Hotelympia and shows a genuine interest in Salon Display, having conversations with all the team members meaning the competitions ran over time by one hour that day.

1990
1990

1990

1990

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana, presents the award for the winner of the School Meals Cook of the Year competition. A Services Day competition is added where chefs from the RAF, Army and Navy competed against each other over a full day.

1992
1992

1992

Now celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey wins the ‘Chef of the Year’ competition.

1993
1993

1993

1993

Michelin Star winning and well known chef from Northern Ireland Michael Deane wins the first ‘Chef of the Year’ competition at the Belfast edition of International Salon Culinaire held at the IFEX exhibition.

1996
1996

1996

Salon Culinaire celebrates 60 years as Hotelympia attracts 60,000 visitors to Earl’s Court over 6 days.

1998
1998

1998

Salon has grown significantly and hosts 86 competition classes with entries from USA, Turkey, Germany, Norway, Malta, Cyprus, Finland, Austria, as well as around the UK and Ireland. It has become truly international.

 

24 teams compete in ‘La Parade des Chefs’ and teams include the American National Team, Norwegian, Irish and Maltese National Teams with 14 teams having to be turned away during submission due to the popularity of this feature.

 

Salon also features an authentic Field Kitchen which is run along the same lines as La Parade des Chefs and over 750 awards are presented.

2000
2000

2000

Hotelympia goes down to 5 days with Salon Culinaire having two Live Theatres, one of which hosts Chef of the Year, Rioja Sous Chef Bursary, Kikkoman Masters, TUCO Chef Challenge, plus many others.

2010
2010

2010

Salon Culinaire hosts the Global Chef Challenge and over 825 awards are presented.

2014
2014

2014

Industry icon Peter Griffiths MBE steps down as Salon Director after 25 years and is succeeded by James Tanner.

2016
2016

2016

2016

Over 900 chefs compete and new chef director Steve Munkley joins the Salon family!

 

A brand new Skills Theatre is introduced aimes at students and apprentices at the early stage of their career to show their skills in a competition setting.

2020
2020

2020

2020

Hotelympia now known as HRC goes ahead at the beginning of March 2020 and hosts International Salon Culinaire competitions. Later that month Salon Culinaire plans to celebrate its 25th edition at IFEX in Belfast when the UK goes into lockdown amid fears surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic and the show is unfortunately postponed to 2022.

2021
2021

2021

A virtual version of International Salon Culinaire is launched as Coronavirus fears still affect the industry, giving chefs the ability to enter in various categories and the option of competing live or via short video links from their own homes and colleges.

Hall of Fame

International Salon Culinaire continues to evolve in line with the demands of the industry and the wider community, but one thing that remains constant is the affinity that it has with chefs young and old. The Salon Culinaire Hall of Fame Includes:
Mark Hill
Executive Chef
@House of Commons
Simon Hulstone
Chef Patron
@Michelin-starred The Elephant, Torquay
Kevin Viner
@Michelin-starred The Pennypot
Andreas Antona
Chef Patron
@Michelin-starred Simpsons
Glynn Purnell
Chef Patron
@Michelin-starred Purnell’s
Nick Vadis
Culinary Director
@Compass Group, Torquay
Peter Joyner
Development Chef Director
@Elior
Michael Kitts
formerly The Ritz, Director of Culinary Arts
@Emirates Academy, Dubai
Simon Webb
Captain
@England’s National Team
Antony Worrall-Thompson
Celebrity chef
Idris Caldora MCA
Academy of Culinary Arts
@Chef-Adopt-A-School
Richard Mutz
ExecutIve Chef
@The White House, Washington DC
Hayden Groves
Executive Chef
@BaxterStorey
Adam Bennett
Chef Director
@Kenilworth pub The Cross
Adam Smith
Michelin-starred Exec Chef
@Cowarth Park
Gordon Ramsey
Celebrity Chef