The 2018 Young Chef and Commis competitors with Ment’or BKB founders and notable guest judges.

Photo credit: David Becker


Young chefs from around the country given unparalleled opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the nation’s most esteemed chefs


(New York; NY: December 14, 2018)— The Ment’or BKB Foundation made its return to Las Vegas this week to host their annual Young Chef and Commis Competition and are proud to announce the winners of the 2018 competition: Ian P. Cairns, Young Chef, and Amber Baden, Commis.

Held at the newly opened Hospitality Hall at University of Nevada, Las Vegas on December 12th in front of a live audience, candidates were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants earlier this fall. Young chefs and their assistants were tasked with developing an original recipe based on the featured protein, lamb loin saddle, provided by Pure Bred Lamb with plates by Steelite, and given the platform to compete in front of some of the world’s most renowned chefs and the founders of the Ment’or BKB Foundation, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jérôme Bocuse. The guest chef jury consisted of: Paul Bartolotta, Justin Cogley, Gerard Craft, Chris Hastings, Tim Hollingsworth, Michelle Karr-Ueoka, Gavin Kaysen, Mathew Peters, Francis Reynard, Rich Rosendale, Curtis Stone, and Philip Tessier.

The Young Chef first place winner, Ian P. Cairns, is the first to compete in the Young Chef and Commis competition with a Culinary Science degree from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He most recently worked at The French Laundry in Yountville, CA and Mélisse in Los Angeles, CA. His assistant chef was Bryn Rene Timmis. The second place team was Jordan Sanchez of the Garrison at the Fairmont in Austin, TX and his assistant chef, Lauren Poag. The third place team was Jakub Czyszczon of Senia in O’ahu Hawaii and his assistant chef, Blaize Velasquez.

The Young Commis first place winner, Amber Baden, is currently working at Bar Boulud in Boston, MA. Sean Koenig, who currently works at The French Laundry, won second place, and Christian Wieczorek won third place. Both Young Chef and Commis second and third place winners receive cash prizes.    

Young Yun, Ment’or BKB’s Executive Director shares, “This year is particularly significant, as it marks the tenth anniversary of the Foundation. It is our mission to support young chefs across America through our programs, from helping train Team USA for the Bocuse d’Or to educating and promoting the next generation of great American Chefs. The Young Chef and Commis competition showcases our efforts by bringing together mentors and mentees and is at the core of what we do. We are incredibly humbled by the hard work given by each of the participants, and are proud to have witnessed the unparalleled talent and dedication that each competitor put forth.”

Establishing a platform for young American chefs to succeed is at the heart of The Ment’or BKB’s mission. Offering exposure to some of the world’s most prestigious chefs, The Young Chef and Commis competitions recognize and promote talented young cooks in a competitive environment, ultimately preparing them to enter the next phase of their careers.

Winners are given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Lyon, France in January and support Team USA at the 2019 Bocuse d’Or Finale, where they will be defending their gold medal title.

The Young Chef and Commis Competition is made possible by proud sponsors including: All-Clad, Barclays, Bridor, Grey Goose, Nordaq Fresh, Patrón, Pure Bred Lamb, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Steelite and The Venetian Resort. For additional details, visit

For more information about the Ment’or BKB Foundation, visit or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


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