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WorldChefs Competition Guidelines & Rules


“The real value of competitions is the instilling of discipline, team work and essential need for innovation and research into foods, ingredients, trends, new dietary and social requirements. Competitions teach chefs discipline, develop skills and creativity. Competitors get an opportunity to gain experience and increase their organizational skills. The added bonus is receiving recognition awards, thereby building one’s self-respect.” Billy Gallagher

As chefs, we know that competitions play a very important role in the career journey of a chef. It is the pursuit for perfection that has kept them improving and always wanting to do better. As all chefs strive to encourage competitions in their respective countries, it is equally important to ensure they all have the same standards. The WACS culinary committee members introduced new global standards that should be adhered to in all competitions whether at national, continental, international or global level. All judges and competitors everywhere in the world should know the rules and guidelines listed here so that they observe one international standard.

By understanding what judges are looking for you will be better equipped to compete. The judges always start with the goal of awarding a maximum score of 100 points as they assume that the competitor will prepare, cook and serve the dish to perfection. By marking the judging checklist with a positive “yes” or negative “no”, they know how many points should be deducted due to the number of “no” markings.

You as a competitor can use the judging checklists to evaluate your own performance by marking a positive “Yes” for yes well done, and a negative “No” for things that were not done as per WACS rulings.

Always read carefully the general rules and program requirements of each competition that you enter. Adhere to the hygiene and food safety rules set by WACS. To verify and hone your competition skills use the scoring guidelines (judging checklist) that you will find it by the end of the page.

Hygiene and Food Safety Rules

These guidelines are an overview of critical points that must be adhered to; breaching hygiene can put guests at risk and reflects badly on our professionalism as most competitions are under the watchful eye of the public and media.

Dress Standards

  • Chef’s jackets – all chefs must enter the competition arena wearing a clean and pressed chef’s jacket.
  • Chef’s hat – a normal chef’s hat is required, a baseball cap style will not be accepted.
  • Apron – apron length can be determined by the team and a butcher stripe apron can be used. Chefs must change aprons prior to service.
  • Black trousers.
  • Shoes – a non-slip safety style shoe is to be worn.
  • Neckties – are optional not obligatory.
  • Jewellery – no visible jewellery is to be worn except for a wedding ring, ear stud or sleeper earring.

Personal Hygiene

  • Male chefs should be clean shaven.
  • Chefs with beards must wear a beard net.
  • Sleeves of chef’s jacket must not be rolled up past the elbow.
  • Chefs should be clean, showered and have good personal hygiene.
  • After-shave and perfumes must not be overpowering.

Food & Drink during the competition

  • Industrially bottled and packaged beverages can be consumed in the competition kitchen.
  • Industrially produced and packaged nutrition, like energy bars or gels, can be consumed in the competition kitchen.
  • Prepared and cooked foods such as sandwiches or salads can only be consumed during breaks and outside the competition kitchen.

Food Handling Requirements

  • Basic principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) adopted for restaurants must be adhered to.
  • Temperature recording of perishable food items must be recorded when leaving the preparation kitchen.
  • Temperature recording of perishable food items must be recorded when entering the competition kitchen.
  • Food items to be stored correctly between -18˚C to + 4˚C.
  • Chefs must wash their hands prior to starting a competition.
  • Chefs must wash their hands when they change tasks.
  • Chefs must wash their hands upon returning to the kitchen if they have left the competition kitchen for any reason.
  • Food items should not be held at 65˚C for longer than two hours.
  • Tasting food must be carried out with single-use disposable utensils or utensils that are washed after each tasting.
  • Double dipping into sauces or food items with the same spoon is not acceptable.
  • Food items in transport and in storage must be covered with clear plastic or a lid.
  • Gloves can be worn if working with dirty items or items that stain, for example beetroot, etc.
  • Ready-To-Eat food (RTE) that is not at 65˚C should not be handled with bare hands. RTE foods must be taken from a plate, using tongs, chop sticks, tweezers or with hands covered with gloves.
  • Gloves do not give an automatic exemption to proper food handling techniques. Once the food item you are working with is changed, you must change your gloves.
  • Basic spills must be cleaned up immediately.
  • Knives should be kept clean at all times.

Storage of Food

  • Food items should be on trays or in containers and covered.
  • When setting up your chiller/refrigeration, ensure items do not drip on items stored below.
  • Food trimmings from your mise en place that are to be used later should be kept separate and not mixed together.
  • Food trimmings should be identified, covered and labelled to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Do not store raw food with cooked food items.


  • Hands are to be washed frequently.
  • Hand paper towels are to be used for bench (worktop) wiping and hands.
  • Cloth towels are only to be used for carrying hot items such as pots and pans.
  • Work benches (worktops) should be sanitized prior to commencing the competition, after each task is completed and at the end of the competition.
  • Cutting boards in PEHD (Polyethylene High Density) materials are preferred and should be clean and have the appropriate colour used for each task. The standard colour usage is green for vegetable, red for meat, blue for fish and brown for cooked meats. Otherwise, white is acceptable as a neutral colour for all tasks, as long as it is cleaned between the different tasks. Cutting boards should not be made of wood.
  • Work areas should always be clear of unnecessary items.

Hot Kitchen

Download WorldChefs Hot Kitchen Judging Checklist as PDF

Download WorldChefs Desserts Judging Checklist as PDF

Download WorldChefs Showpiece Judging Checklist as PDF


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