Bocuse d’Or gets underway for the 2013 final with new challenges
Changes made to the global culinary challenge Bocuse d’Or, aimed at increasing the creativity, spontaneity and ethnicity of the chef finalists, were announced to the UK team in London on July 9.
For the competition, which takes place on January 29-30 next year alongside the Syrha exhibition in Lyon, 24 finalists will have five and a half hours to prepare a meat and fish course for 14 covers.
For the first time, however, the organisers have announced that details of the fish theme will not be available until the end of November, giving candidates less time to prepare this course than in previous years.
The chefs will not be allowed to bring all their ingredients with them but instead, the day before the competition, they will have one and a half hours to "shop" and choose seasonal products to prepare two of their side dishes. To showcase each country's culinary traditions they will also have to prepare a third side dish that is a typical national dish.
Another first is the creation of a kitchen jury that will judge hygiene, waste, teamwork and the criteria of the fish theme created the day before the event. The mark given by this jury will account for 20% of the final score.
The meat course will be a hot dish prepared using quality assured grass-fed Irish beef fillet supplied by Ireland's Bord Bia, with three garnishes and the option of including chuck steak, ox cheek and ox tail.
UK finalist Adam Bennett, head chef at the Michelin starred restaurant Simpsons in Edgbaston, Birmingham, who won a prize for his meat dish at the European finals in Brussels, said that since then he had been dying to get started with his dishes. "I'm delighted to finally know what I'll be cooking. However, six months isn't a great deal of time for a competition like the Bocuse d'Or so the pressure is now on."
Bennett will be supported by his commis chef Kristian Curtis, also from Simpsons, and mentored by coach, Nick Vadis, UK executive chef of Compass Group.
The Sirha show will also host the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, the biggest competition of its kind in the world. Teams comprising a pastry chef, chocolate maker and ice cream maker from 22 countries will take part in the 10-hour competition in the culinary arena.
The UK has made it to the final three times and this year is one of the top seven – one of seven countries that qualified automatically for the contest – following its winning the European cup in Paris. Martin Chiffers, executive pastry chef at The Savoy, is president of the team that comprises Javier Mercado from Westminster Kingsway College, Nicolas Bouhelier from Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons and Nicolas Belorgey from Yauatcha.
Words: Sheila Eggleston
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