In light of the culinary Olympics that are taking place tomorrow, I've been brushing up quite a bit on my Bocuse d'Or knowledge. Not only did I gather insights from returning contender Percy Whatley, but I just finished Knives at Dawn, journalist Andrew Friedman's in-depth account of America's quest to win the 2009 competition. Armed with tons of fun competition trivia, I thought I'd see how fast you can race to the finish with these facts. How high can you score on the Bocuse d'Or? Take my quiz to find out!Take the Quiz
This Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, 12 semifinalists will compete for one coveted position on the Bocuse d'Or USA team. The winning chef and commis (assistant) will compete for the world title at the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France, next year. While at Chefs' Holidays, I sat down with Percy Whatley, The Ahwahnee Hotel's chef and a returning semifinalist, to hear how he plans to take Team USA all the way. More, after the break.
When Bocuse d'Or USA announced its 12 semifinalists back in December, there was only one shoo-in on the list. Kevin Gillespie, the Top Chef fan favorite, earned his spot during one of the show's elimination challenges. Now, in an interesting turn of events, Gillespie has taken himself out of the competition.
Replacing the Top Chef finalist will be Jim Burke, executive chef at James in Philadelphia. Reasons as of right now are unclear, although Bocuse d'Or expert Andrew Friedman brings up the likely possibility that, with all his recent fame, Gillespie doesn't have the time — and motivation — to train for the event. Somehow, I'm not surprised and always questioned whether his straightforward, rustic approach would jive with the other competition platters.
Are you sad to hear that Kevin no longer has a shot at winning the Bocuse d'Or?
Photo courtesy of Bravo
Yesterday, Bocuse d'Or USA chairman Daniel Boulud announced the 12 semifinalists who will compete to represent the United States in the next Bocuse d'Or. Following in the footsteps of Top Chef's Hung Huynh is Top Chef Las Vegas finalist Kevin Gillespie, who won an elimination challenge to compete at the Bocuse d'Or.
The 12 semifinalists will square off on Feb. 6, 2010, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, for a highly coveted position on the US team. The winners will then compete at the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France, in 2011.
I find it puzzling that, although the competition drew only 17 applicants, the number of candidates seems to have nearly doubled since last year. Still, I'm excited to see how everything pans out. Although I wonder whether Kevin's straightforward, rustic cooking will be too simple for the culinary Olympics, I still hope he goes all the way.
To find out who the other 11 competitors are, read more.
Things took a serious turn on the most recent episode of Top Chef. The cheftestants had to cook serious food for some serious chefs. Thomas Keller appeared, the Voltaggio brothers struggled, and Kevin experimented with the culinary technique known as sous vide. How closely were you watching? Find out when you take the quiz!
Photo courtesy of BravoTake the Quiz
This year has been a momentous one for the Olympics — not just in sports, but in the culinary arena as well. The Bocuse d'Or — considered the Olympics of food and the world's most prestigious award for French cuisine — is scheduled for Jan. 28 and 29, 2009 in Lyon, France. The rigorous selection process, however, gained plenty of attention in 2008.
It all began this Summer, when we caught up with Hung Huynh at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, and the Top Chef Season 3 winner revealed his wish to be a semifinalist — which he was. In July, the American Bocuse d'Or advisory board, which includes Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Tom Colicchio, selected eight semifinalists to compete for the coveted chance to represent the US. The judges appointed were even more prestigious, with highly respected chefs such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten involved in choosing a winner. On September 26 and 27, the semifinalists faced off in a culinary challenge hosted by Al Roker, Food and Wine editor Dana Cowin, and John Besh at the Epcot Center.
After two full days of competition, Timothy Hollingsworth, a sous chef at The French Laundry, was selected as the US representative. Currently, Hollingsworth is training directly under Keller as he prepares to represent America in next month's championships, where Paul Bocuse, the French founder of the competition, will be on hand to observe and officiate. No American chef has ever won the final competition and the closest one has come to seeing gold was sixth place in 2003. Could Hollingsworth be the first?
The panel of judges for next month's Bocuse d'Or — the Olympics of the culinary world — were announced last Friday. Many of the judges, such as Laurent Tourondel and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, hail from New York, which makes me wonder if the giants of the gastronomic world really do believe that New York is the center of the culinary universe.
As if the list of uber-chef judges isn't intimidating enough, Paul Bocuse, the French founder of the competition will be on hand to observe and officiate.
The semifinals, which take place on September 26 and 27 in Orlando, determine which two of the contenders will represent the US in the Bocuse d'Or finals. To see the complete list of judges, read more
The eight semifinalists who will compete for the coveted chance to represent America at the culinary Olympics, the Bocuse d'Or, have been announced. Among them are Top Chef Season 3 winner Hung Huynh. It's no surprise that Hung was chosen for the competition, when I spoke with him at the Food and Wine Classic, he mentioned his desire to participate. Hung and the other seven candidates were selected from 150 applicants by an advisory board that included Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Tom Colicchio. The semifinalists will face off in a culinary challenge on September 26 and 27 in Epcot Center. The final two will be trained personally by Thomas Keller and will represent America in the finals. To find out who the other competitors are, read more