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Bocuse d’Or 2011,

Competition gastronomy!

25-26 January 2011

Part of Sirha – the worldwide event for the Catering and Hotel industry. January 22nd to 26th, 2011 – Eurexpo Lyon France


renda and I have a very special holiday gift. We are going to Bocuse d’Or to cover all of the competition and the new trends happening at Sirha. We are looking forward to meeting our friend, French Master Chef Herve Laurent and his wife, and know we will have a grand time. We are hooked on covering this event. It is a foodies dream and a chef’s utopia.

Are we all crazy? For gourmet cuisine certainly! Cooking lessons, cooking contests, recipe books, TV programmes… Never has gastronomy been so fashionable! In the same vein, 24 years after its creation the Bocuse d’Or is still a truly exceptional contest.

The Bocuse d’Or is to gastronomy what fashion shows are to haute couture. A dazzling show featuring talented creators, exceptional ingredients and products, and superb staging… From one edition to the next, as the seats in the stands are highly sought after, it has become a challenge to even attend the live event. Yet, the event has not become exclusive: it has kept the simple spirit of large but friendly occasions and the geniality typical to the catering trade. It is thanks to this contrast that the magic of the Bocuse d’Or continues to operate.

An outstanding contest

In 1987, Paul Bocuse’s visionary idea was to bring together 24 chefs, from 24 countries, for a spectacular gastronomy contest. 24 years later, the concept hasn’t dated in the slightest. On the contrary, it has become increasingly popular. Today, TV programmes showing cooking contests are commonplace and achieve high scores in terms of audience. Yet the Bocuse d’Or is still at the top of the trends.

Imagine a football stadium packed with enthusiastic fans… Place a cover over the pitch. Replace the lawn with twelve mini-kitchens set side by side, replace the players with cooking geniuses, change the ball for a meat dish and a fish dish… And make it all last for 5 hrs 35 min. That’s how one could describe the Bocuse d’Or in a nutshell.

This culinary joust is so popular that it now has nearly 60 pre-selection events and 3 continental selection events. The pressure and the level of the contest are such that the candidates dedicate months to the preparation and presentation of their recipes, setting aside their own careers and private lives until the event is over. The reputation of the Bocuse d’Or has led the organisers to build a 10 500 m2 hall, to increase the stand capacity to 1500 seats and to install an audiovisual system composed of five cameras that makes it possible to broadcast the contest live in high definition on a 20 m x 4 m giant screen.

Avant-garde regulations

If the contest is so exceptional, it is also because its’ rules continuously anticipate the latest consumer trends and expectations. Well before the recent food crises and the implementation of traceability legislation, the Bocuse d’Or International Organisation Committee (IOC) imposed the use of carefully selected ingredient and products. This year, the products will be Scottish Lamb, Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Scottish monkfish.

The Bocuse d’Or set up its continental selection events as consumers started to show an interest for new culinary cultures. These made it possible for countries less well known for their gastronomy to take part in the contest and thus demonstrate their know-how. For example, this year, Guatemala and Malaysia (all women team), respectively winners of the Copa Azteca and Bocuse d’Or Asia will be under the spotlights. This will also mark the first participation for Guatemala. The contest regulations also require that the gastronomic culture of the different countries be clearly visible in the creations.

Moreover, at a time when gourmet connoisseurs are tiring of molecular cuisine and are turning toward more authentic values, the marking criteria for the Bocuse d’Or includes the visual and taste identification of the products in the final dish. Even if this means having to recreate the saddle of lamb after having carved and stuffed it.

A jury composed of the elite from worldwide gastronomy

To judge the 24 candidates, illustrious professionals: Paul Bocuse, President founder, Yannick Alleno, Honorary President(3* Chef at the Meurice, Bocuse d’Argent 1999) and Geir Skeie, President of the international jury (Bocuse d’Or 2009) and also 24 influent and emblematic chefs, representative of the latest trends in their respective countries.

An outcome not to be missed

Although the Sirha is the event where new trends are revealed, there can be no doubt that the Bocuse d’Or is one of its highlights. Candidates, restaurant owners, chefs working in the kitchens of palaces or multi-champions of prestigious contests… all place the contest at a very high level. Driven by the spirit of competition, some candidates are capable of inventing new techniques in order to achieve the desired results… others display unlimited creativity. All reflect the current trends in terms of taste and presentation from the countries that they represent. An unlimited source of inspiration for those who will be observing them closely!

2011 candidates and test schedule

Tuesday 25th January 2011 Wednesday 26th January 2011
1 Indonesia Guruh NUGRAHA Sweden Tommy MYLLYMÄKI
2 Argentine Juan Pedro DEMURU Uruguay Álvaro Martín VERDEROSA GONZÁLEZ
3 Poland Rafal JELEWSKI Denmark Rasmus KOEFOED
4 Iceland Thrainn Freyr VIGFUSSON Canada Ryan STONE
5 Belgium Collin GAETAN Germany Ludwig HEER
6 China Shi JING SHEN Switzerland Franck GIOVANNINI
7 Guatemala Nicolás PALOMO VENTURA United Kingdom Simon HULSTONE
8 Netherlands Marco POLDERVAART United States James KENT
9 Finland Matti JÄMSEN Italy Alberto ZANOLETTI
10 France Jérôme JAEGLE Malaysia See LAY NA
11 Australia Russel CLARKE Spain Juan Andrés RODRIGUEZ
12 Japan Tatsuo NAKASU Norway Gunnar HVARNES