Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Chef Ingri Romero Wins The Jeunes Global Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition in Bogota, Colombia
Ingri Romero, line cook 2 at Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota, recently participated in the Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition in Bogota, securing a spot in the International Competition 2024. This is what she did to win the prize and how she is preparing for the upcoming event.
La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs (Association Mondiale de la Gastronomie) is an international association present in more than 75 countries, focused on celebrating fine dining, the promotion of culinary arts, and the pleasure of sharing good food at the table. With nearly 21,000 members, it gathers hoteliers, restaurateurs, executive chefs and sommeliers, among other key actors in the industry. According to the organization, the Jeunes Competition aims to “encourage and promote expertise of young chefs in tradition of the Chefs Rôtisseurs” across the globe.
Incentivized by Juana Mesías, the Hotel’s Food and Beverage Director, and confident because of her skills as part of the team that Chef Miguel González leads at the Hotel, Ingri decided to participate in the contest, which was the first of her career. She became interested in creative cooking while working in a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, one of the first jobs she got after studying at The National Training Service of Colombia (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje –SENA). While working at other hotels and resorts in Bogota and the nearby town of Girardot, she continued to train her creative cooking skills by taking a certificated course, as well as through the mentorship of Chef González, among other professionals.
The Jeunes Chefs Competition took place on July 11, 2023 and consisted of cooking a three course meal - appetizer, entrée, and dessert - for sixteen judges in 3.5 hours, using a surprise box that contained five products: truffles, duck wings, pig feet, caviar, and borojó (a fruit native from the Chocó region in the northwest of Colombia). Ingri’s appetizer: a mix of pickled tomatoes with cream cheese, aromatized with a truffle honey, finished with a mix of Asian greens, basil, and a powder made with the dried skin of the tomatoes. For the entrée she used the duck and the caviar: a duck rillette made with well-seasoned, cooked, boned and chopped duck wings, served in medallions, with the caviar and a red wine-apple sauce. As a side dish she offered ripe plantain purée enriched with heavy cream. For dessert: a borojó panna cotta with a base of pork feet and apple preserve, aromatized with cinnamon and panela (sugar cane paste), served with crunchy little pieces of sautéed pork feet, parmesan cheese chips, powdered sugar, and fresh fruit.
Ingri was the only female participant from a total of seven participants. She was certainly proud and motivated after winning the prize and overcoming a challenging situation with focus and perseverance. When preparing the panna cotta, she realized that her strongest skills were in the hot and cold stations, but that she had a lot to evolve in regard to baked goods and desserts. That’s why she expects to work hard over the next months to master some techniques with precision while continuing to experiment with methods she is passionate about, such as pickling, dehydrating, and preserving.
Aware of a new challenge coming - not only because of competing with young chefs from all around the world, but because the surprise box will come with foreign products maybe unknown for her - she remains confident and excited about telling a Colombian story through her dishes in a culinary narrative that started with the first competition, honouring the wise advice that Mesías gave her back then: “Stay true to yourself and focus on demonstrating your valuable culinary knowledge.”
Looking back on her professional journey and this motivating contest, Ingri wakes up every morning inspired by all she can offer to guests with her creativity and constant exploration: memories, unique shared moments at the table, and a story that starts with farmers growing products in local lands. Her own father is one of these farmers, who works hard to put fresh, flavourful, and diverse products on the table. Under the guidance of Chef González at Casa Medina and the amazing team at Four Seasons that has supported her along the way, in the long term Ingri dreams of running a hotel in which she grows her own products, constantly exploring the infinite realm of culinary creation.