Go for the Gold: Bocuse d’Or USA
8 Semi-Finalist Teams Announced
On Monday, July 14th Chef Daniel Boulud met with key members of the Bocuse d’Or USA Culinary Advisory Board to review competitor applications for the Bocuse d’Or USA competition.
The advisory board group, which included Tom Colicchio, Dan Barber, Daniel Humm, Jacques Pépin, André Soltner and Laurent Tourondel, quickly came to a consensus on the eight strongest team applications. The chef candidates selected span the entire country and come from restaurants as far-reaching as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Westerville, Ohio, Napa Valley, and Yosemite.
The eight teams selected will travel to New York City for an orientation meeting to be held at the French Culinary Institute on Thursday, July 24th. At that time, they will receive an overview of the competition and its rules and regulations and will meet with former Bocuse d’Or USA competitors. They will also be given an opportunity to prepare a trial run of a dish for members of the Culinary Advisory Board and Coach Roland Henin so as to receive feedback for improvement.
Thereafter, the teams will return to their home cities to train for the USA Bocuse d’Or Cuisine Competition to be held at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on September 26th and 27th, 2008. May the best team win!
Left: Chef Rogers Powell, Chef Kavin Sbraga, Chef Hung Huynh, Damian Mogavero, CEO and Founder of Avero Top Right: Chef Jerome Bocuse, Chef Rogers Powell, Chef Kevin Sbraga, Chef Hung Huynh, Chef Daniel Boulud, Chef Kyle Fiasconaro, Chef David Wong Bottom Right: Marie Odile Fondeur, Chef Jerome Bocuse, Chef David Wong, Chef Daniel Boulud, Florent Suplisson
Photos: Michael Harlan Turkell
Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, Sous Chef, French Laundry, Yountville, CA
Over seven years working for Thomas Keller at the French Laundry and Per Se
Chef Hung Huynh, Executive Chef, Solo, New York, NY
Top Chef Season 3 Winner, Formerly Sous Chef of Guy Savoy in Las Vegas
Chef Rogers Powell, Instructor, French Culinary Institute, New York, NY
23 years of experience throughout NY and France, including La Côte Basque and Maxim’s
Commis: Kyle Fiasconaro, French Culinary Institute, Student
Chef John Rellah, Jr., Executive Chef, Hamilton Farm, Gladstone, NJ
Former Executive Chef of the Union Club in New York
Experience working at Gray Kunz, Lespinasse and Le Bernardin
Chef Richard Rosendale, Chef/Owner, Rosendales, Columbus, OH
US Culinary Olympic Team Captain
Over 15 Gold Medals in national and international culinary competitions
Commis: Seth Warren, Rosendales, Cook
Chef Michael Rotondo, Chef de Cuisine, Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago, IL
New England Culinary Institute Alumnus, experience at Four Seasons Hotels
Commis: Jennifer Petrusky, Charlie Trotter’s, Sous Chef
Chef Kevin Sbraga, Culinary Director, Garces Restaurant Group
(Amada, Distrito, Mercat, and Tinto), Philadelphia, PA
Formerly Executive Chef of Le Mas Perrier of the Georges Perrier restaurant group
Commis: Aimee Patel, Amada, Line Cook
Chef Percy Whatley, Delaware North Parks, Executive Chef, Yosemite, CA
Oversees operations of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park
Works closely with Coach Roland Henin
Commis: Joshua Johnson, Delaware North Parks, Chef de Partie
About the Bocuse d’Or USA
The Bocuse d’Or has an old-guard French connotation, and as such, tends to fly under the radar of many young American cooks. This year, however, the culinary equivalent of the Olympics is being promoted with vigor in the US, with the help of an advisory board featuring familiar names like Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Marcus Samuelsson, Paul Kahan, Dan Barber, Suzanne Goin, Jean-Georges, and more.
At a respectable 21 years old, the competition is a massive, prestigious undertaking that – with the 2008 inception of the Bocuse d’Or Asia – spans nearly the entire globe. On the importance of the competition for America, Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry and President of the USA Bocuse d'Or) says:
"The world has long considered America the “Fast Food Nation,” and though we have made considerable advancements in the past 25 years it is still important to reinforce at every opportunity our ability to compete on the world stage. Sending a team to Lyon that is organized, supported, trained, and serious is a step in that direction, and adds credibility to all our culinary efforts."
To get to the finals in Lyon, France, you first need to compete in Orlando, Florida, in a pre-qualifying competition that will select a single finalist team of one chef and one commis. This team will continue to train (under the guidance of Chef Roland Henin) for their appearance in the arena at the Bocuse d’Or World Contest in Lyon in January 2009, where two-person teams from 20 countries will chop, poach, puree, and encapsulate their way to glory, in the form of, among a bevy of other prizes and honors, a gold statue of Paul Bocuse.
According to Keller, the perfect candidate should be refined, organized, dedicated, and driven. They will need to take a leave of absence to train between October and January, during which time they will hone their competition skills with their partner, and Henin. Says Keller, "Daniel and I are hoping to find a chef who has a firm understanding of classic French cuisine but also has the talent to interpret his/her knowledge in a modern and refined way."
Friday, September 26th, 2008 – Saturday, September 27th, 2008
The Bocuse d’Or USA contest is a pre-qualifying competition whose purpose is to select a single finalist team of Chef and Commis that will go on to represent the United States at the International Bocuse d’Or, held biennially in Lyon, France. Based on the strength of their written applications, eight teams will be selected to compete at the Bocuse d’Or USA Cuisine Competition in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, September 26th and Saturday, September 27th, 2008. The competition will be held in an arena setting and will be open to the public. A panel of renowned chefs drawn from the Bocuse d’Or USA’s Culinary Advisory Board will serve as judges and officials. They will evaluate each competing team’s preparation of one fish dish and one meat dish. The teams will be judged for excellence in technique, flavor, sophistication, harmony of ingredients, originality and presentation. They will also be evaluated on their cleanliness and efficiency in the kitchen and their ability to work cohesively as a team. The weekend will culminate in a Gala dinner and Awards Ceremony. Approximately 300 paying guests will attend the dinner, which will also feature a silent auction to raise funds for the USA Bocuse d’Or team. Special guests at the dinner will include the competing USA chef teams, Bocuse d’Or USA advisory board chefs, sponsors and media guests.
Based on their overall performance in the competition, the top Chef-Commis team will be selected to represent the United States at the Bocuse d’Or World Contest in Lyon, France in January, 2009. The top three competing teams will be awarded cash prizes, and all eight semi-finalist teams will be awarded a one-year subscription to the Avero Slingshot restaurant business intelligence software package. The top team will also receive a cruise vacation and cooking showcase opportunity from Crystal Cruises. Travel to and accommodations for the Bocuse d’Or Contest in Orlando, Florida will be provided for the eight semi-finalists teams by our generous sponsors. The top placing team will also receive travel to and accommodations for the Bocuse d’Or Contest in Lyon, France.
Bocuse d’Or World Cusine Contest
Salon Des Metiers De Bouche, Lyon, France
Now considered the Olympic Games of the culinary world, the Bocuse d’Or competition takes place biennially in Lyon, France in the context of this gourmet capital’s famed Salon Des Metiers De Bouche with its over 500 gourmet exhibitors and 50,000 visitors. The competition is held in a stadium style venue in front of a live audience, making it one of the world’s great culinary performance spectacles. Over twenty countries participate, with each one represented by a two person team of Chef and Commis. Culinary professionals and fine food enthusiasts alike attend the event along with an important contingent of over 450 international journalists from television, radio and print media.
Board of Directors
Daniel Boulud (Chairman) - Daniel
Thomas Keller (President) - French Laundry
Jerome Bocuse (Vice-President) - Chefs de France at Epcot Center
Dan Barber - Blue Hill
Mario Batali - Babbo
John Besh - August
Michel Bouit - The World of MBI
Tom Colicchio - Craft
Traci des Jardins - Jardiniere
Rocco DiSpirito - RoccoDiSpirito.com
Suzanne Goin - Lucques
Daniel Humm - Eleven Madison Park
Paul Kahan - Blackbird
Hubert Keller - Fleur de Lys
Emeril Lagasse - Emeril's
Nobu Matsuhisa - Nobu
Michael Mina - Michael Mina
Patrick O’Connell - Inn at Little Washington
Jacques Pepin - French Culinary Institute
Wolfgang Puck - Spago
Eric Ripert - Le Bernardin
Alain Sailhac - French Culinary Institute
Marcus Samuelsson - Aquavit
Andre Soltner - French Culinary Institute
Alex Stratta - Alex
Laurent Tourondel - BLT Restaurants
Charlie Trotter - Charlie Trotter's
David Waltuck - Chanterelle
Jean-Georges Vongerichten - Jean Georges
Media Advisory Board
Dana Cowin - Editor-in-Chief, Food & Wine
Mitchell Davis - Vice President, The James Beard Foundation
Barbara Fairchild - Editor-in-Chief, Bon Appetit
Ruth Reichl - Editor-in-Chief, Gourmet
Martha Stewart - Martha Stewart Media
Susan Ungaro - President, The James Beard Foundation
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