Deaf ears, deft hands: The meatball wizards who are making themselves heard

Eight international deaf chefs to duke it out while focusing on sustainability and food waste

The top deaf chefs on the planet will descend upon the Danish capital this weekend to take part in Deaf Chef 2015, the world’s only competition for chefs who are sign language users.

The competition, which will take place at Hotel- og Restaurantskolen in Valby on Saturday October 24, will pit eight international deaf chefs against each other among the pots and pans with a focus on gastronomical sustainability and minimising food waste.

Renowned panel
The eight chefs – who hail from Denmark, Sweden, the US, France, England, Spain, Canada and Iceland – are all professional and will prepare three-course culinary delights from raw goods such as rabbit, pork tongue and locally-harvested cod and oysters from Limfjorden.

As they work their magic in the kitchen, the judging panel – featuring renowned chefs such as Poul Cunningham, Francis Cardenau and Mhairi Galloway – will keep an eye on food waste and the chefs’ plan for utilising leftovers.

READ MORE: Is Denmark turning into an ideal environment for truffles?

Incredible response
Simon Sheard, the head of Allehånde – a social enterprise that trains and employs deaf chefs, which is one of the sponsors of the Deaf Chef competition – revealed that the idea began last year as a regional pilot project that turned out to be highly successful.

“The response we received after the first year was incredible,” he told the Copenhagen Post.

Creating opportunities
According to Sheard, the competition will help to create employment opportunities for those with hearing disabilities.

“The networks that developed between the chefs already began during the competition itself,” he said.

“The competition aims to celebrate groups with disabilities in the sustainable labour market. Some 50 percent of people with hearing disabilities in Denmark are not in active employment. For us it’s about inclusion and generating positive role models.”

Free entry to all
The chefs will begin their preparations at 07:00 on Saturday and the competition will be open to the public from 10:30 to about 22:00 at Hotel- og Restaurantskolen, Vigerslev Allé 18, Valby.

Simply follow the signs, flags and tantalising smells to find the venue and the opportunity to sample some of the 24 unique dishes. There is free entry to the event.

Denmark’s contestant Magnus Holstein Madsen hails from Copenhagen and works at the Michelin Star, Thai restaurant Kiin Kiin in Nørrebro.

See all eight contestants below.













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