The Bocuse d’Or chef competition is the culinary Olympics and the U.S. just walked away with the win. Led by chef Mathew Peters and his assistant, Harrison Turone, the American team took gold for the very first time in the history of the competition. Norway took silver, and Iceland took bronze. This prestigious competition is seen as the most rigorous and distinguished in the world of gastronomy.
The Bocuse D’Or is the brainchild of Paul Bocuse who founded this competition in 1987. Since its inception, the competition has drawn the most renowned chefs worldwide. America, with its culinary history of hamburgers and hotdogs, has long been the underdog; they have only stood on the podium once in 2015 when they claimed silver.
This event is so competitive that even to qualify for the final round takes 18 months. For this year and a half, chefs must prove their mettle by enduring numerous strenuous cooking tasks.
Once in the final, however, only two dishes need to be expertly prepared. One is a nod to gastronomic history, while the other is a more avant-garde cuisine. This year, according to NPR, judges called for contestants to prepare a “modern interpretation” of the classic Lyonnaise dish “chicken and crayfish” as well as an entirely vegan dish.
The Winning Dishes
For the traditional Lyonnaise dish, the U.S. team prepared a winner. According to The New York Times:
“The American version involved the chicken with morel mushroom sausage, braised wings, a wine glaze and sauce Américaine, a kind of lobster sauce. Alongside were a chicken liver quenelle with foie gras, corn custard, black-eyed peas and toasted pistachios, as well as lobster tail with Meyer lemon mousse. The garnishes included preparations using carrots, Vidalia onions, black truffles, carrots, peas and potatoes.”
In contrast, for the vegan plate, the Times reports that the American team paired:
“California asparagus with cremini mushrooms, potatoes, a custard made of green almonds, Meyer lemon confit, a Bordelaise sauce and a crumble using an almond and vegetable yeast preparation that mimicked Parmesan cheese.”
Peters, the lead chef told Fine Dining Lovers that he wanted to create dishes that were all American. And clearly that approach was a success.
Evidently this is an indication that American culinary prowess is emerging from its backyard barbecue history and entering the arena of haute cuisine.