The Bocuse d’Or: The Olympics of Haute Cuisine
If you’re a fan of The Olympics and fine food, you might want to tune in to this year’s Bocuse d’Or – widely regarded in the culinary industry as The Olympics of haute cuisine.
Unlike the actual Olympics, the Bocuse d’Or is held every two years in Lyon, France. Chefs from all over the world travel to Lyon to show off their culinary skills while competing against each other and representing their countries. This year, chefs will prepare and cook guinea hen and brown trout in teams of two, which include themselves and an assistant chef. Complimentary ingredients to the main dish will come from the chef’s home country. The United States has some stiff competition, as it has never placed in the top three positions, and France has won seven times in fourteen years.
This year, Phillp Tessier will lead the United States team and hopes to come home with the gold medal. Tessier, an Executive Sous Chef at The French Laundry in Yountville, California, will be assisted by Skylar Stover, a co-worker at The French Laundry. On January 26th, competition begins with twelve teams cooking for six hours. The next day, competition resumes as twelve additional teams don their chef hats and take their skills to the kitchen. Tessier has added a year of intense training to help win the Bocuse d’Or, including endurance training and strengthening his cooking techniques, in addition to his day-job at The French Laundry. Tessier has help from the coaches in the Ment’or program, which is the American organization that selects the team for the Bocuse d’Or.
A unique talent for the United States team is supplying the ingredients that will represent the U.S. in the accompaniment to the main meat and fish dishes. Logistically, countries closer to France are at an advantage while the U.S. team will need to ship ingredients across an ocean for use in the Bocuse d’Or. Tessier and his team have been working hard to figure out a way to obtain the freshest ingredients possible from the U.S. To help combat this problem, Tessier’s team held a shipping trial run in November from the United States to Lyon.
Bringing home a medal might not mean much in the United States as the Bocuse d’Or is not as well known in this country as in Europe. However, Tessier and his team hope to win gold and bring recognition to this exciting culinary event.
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