Thibaut Ruggeri of France has won the 2013 Bocuse d’Or, the world-famous culinary contest held in Lyon, with the UK’s Adam Bennett placing fourth, just six points short of a podium finish.
Bennett, head chef at the Michelin-starred Simpsons restaurant in Birmingham, also won the special award for the best meat platter, while his commis chef, Kristian Curtis, was awarded the prize for best commis. It is the best-ever overall result for a UK team competing at the most high-profile international culinary contest.
It is the seventh time France has won the Bocuse d’Or, which sees 24 countries from around the world compete for the title. Ruggeri takes home €20,000 (£17,000) in prize money. Jeppe Foldager Andreseen of Denmark and Noriyuki Hamada of Japan placed in second and third place respectively.
Special prizes were also awarded to Norway for the best fish course, to Guatemala for best promotional work and to Hungary for best poster.
Norway was placed fifth overall, while Sweden took sixth place, followed by USA in seventh.
Bennett, who represented the UK for the first time in the biennial competition, worked together with Team UK commis chef Curtis, commis chef at Simpsons, under the guidance of team manager Nick Vadis, UK executive chef at Compass Group. A group of more than 100 British supporters, including a brass band, were in the crowd at Lyon and vociferously cheered for Bennett.
The team worked solidly for five-and-a-half hours preparing, cooking and serving two dishes – one using turbot and lobster, and another using Irish beef as the main ingredients – to the international judging panel.
A delighted Adam Bennett said soon after the results were annouced: “This result has moved us to another level, where we belong. It proves that with the right facilities and resource we can deliver.”
“I’d like to pass on my thanks to the sponsors, supporters and to Andreas and the team at Simpsons who’ve been hugely amazing over the last twelve months. Having unlimited access to the Bocuse d’Or kitchen has been huge asset and I hope that the next candidate is able to make good use of it!” he added.
Brian Turner CBE, UK Bocuse d’Or judge and President of the Academy of Culinary Arts, said. “We’re the only team with two prizes, a fantastic result and there is so much good emotion here. Adam and Kristian did us proud.”
Bennett’s menu included a fish dish of Tronçon of Label Rouge turbot with blue lobster and seaweed, jellied eels with Scottish smoked salmon, caviar and cucumber ketchup and garnishes of potato, cream leeks rolled in espinette butter, and salad of vegetables with mustard seeds, apple and celery purée. His meat platter comprised roast fillet of Irish beef, cooked over English oak, mushroom and bone marrow farce, Hampshire truffles, braised oxtail and cheek with pickled walnuts and root vegetables, onion purée, boiled beef and carrots – Scottish carrots filled with salt beef and mustard, Savoy cabbage and Wiltshire bacon with Hampshire truffle, potato cake with pickled mushrooms and red wine jus.
The Bocuse d’Or this year introduced a major overhaul of its rules in a bid to bring more spontaneity, showmanship and an international flavour to the contest.Twenty-five years after its launch, the competition’s organisers changed some of the regulations for the world final to avoid the overtraining and lack of creativity often displayed on the day.
Candidates from the 24 participating countries normally serve a fish and a meat platter to a jury of 12 judges at the final. However, for the first time competing chefs had to serve their fish course on to 14 individual plates instead and they were also asked to improvise on two of the three vegetable garnishes, having shopped just the day before the final at a special Bocuse d’Or market.
The judging panel included high-profile chefs such as Thomas Keller, representing the USA, Danish chef Rasmus Kofoed, who won the Bocuse d’Or in 2011, and Academy of Culinary Arts president Brian Turner for the UK. The Bocuse d’Or is considered to be the world championship in cooking. It was founded in 1987 by legendary French chef Paul Bocuse and Albert Romain, organiser of the trade exhibition Sirha, where the competition is held.
BOCUSE D’OR 2013 – THE FULL RESULTS
16 The Netherlands
21 Sri Lanka
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