Team USA tops Bocuse d’Or for the first time

The American team, coached by Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud, won the coveted prize in the 30th year of the competition

Going one better than their 2nd place in 2015, the US team, headed by chef Matthew Peters, beat Norway and Iceland who took the bronze trophy, to the coveted top spot. In fourth place came Hungary, the team that won the European Bocuse d’Or last year and was coached by the Danish chef Rasmus Kofoed who is the only chef to have won gold, silver and bronze in the prestigiuos competition.

American chef Peters who most recently worked in the kitchens of Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant Per Se, emerged victorious in the two highly symbolic tests set by the organisers.

The first, Bresse chicken with shellfish, was the very first theme proposed in 1987 for the first edition of the Bocuse d’Or and was brought back as a way to celebrate 30 years of the competition. The second dish, representing something more contemporary and in step with the current trend of focus on vegetables, was based around the ‘vegetal’ theme.

Culinary heavyweights

Chef Peters has spent the last year training for the competition in Yountville, Napa Valley, and it is of little surprise that the American team of 10 chefs and helpers prevailed with coaches including heavyweight culinary icons Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud on the team.

Often called the Olympic Games of the culinary world, the finals of the Bocuse d’Or calls for rigorous preparation and an unflinching attention to detail – the 24 finalists came through five hours and 35 minutes of competition. Though some observers might find it an odd spectacle – cookery as a competitive sport – the contest is highly regarded among professional chefs and a source of great pride for those who win.

After winning, chef Keller said he’d promised Paul Bocuse ten years ago that team USA would win the coveted title. This week he was happy to see the team pick it up in nine years.

Other prizes on the night included the best commis, which went to Benjamin Vakanas of France; the special plate prize, won by Hungary and the prize for the best promotion campagn, which was won by Australia.

Tina Nielsen

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