Culinary legend Pierre Koffmann has been named an ambassador for the UK's Bocuse d'Or team as preparations ramp up for the world-class competition.
Koffman, renowned for holding three Michelin stars at La Tante Claire for a decade and a half, will lend his expertise to the team ahead of next year's European heat.
Competitors vying to represent the country include Luke Selby, Ruth Hansom, Robert Sussex and Ian Musgrave – all of whom will compete in a heat at London's restaurant show at the end of next month.
Koffman will now share the importance of the Bocuse d'Or to the UK hospitality industry and promote its relevance to a wider audience – as well as playing an active role in recruiting and selecting future candidates, providing input to the culinary and creative development of the UK entry and supporting fundraising and sponsorship activity.
He joins the likes of Alyn Williams, Ashley Palmer-Watts, Jonny Lake, Mark Garston, Simon Hulstone, Tom Aikens and Tom Sellers in supporting the team, which is led by founder and chair Andreas Antona and Team UK president Simon Rogan.
Koffmann said: "The Bocuse d'Or is a world-renowned competition but it doesn't receive the recognition in deserves in this country. The UK truly has some of the best chefs in the world so it's about time we get behind the UK team and do our bit to win our rightful place on the podium."
The international culinary competition sees the world's greatest talents compete to present plated and platter-based dishes for a judging panel made up of some of the most respected chefs on the planet.
The long road to Lyon, where the final of the competition established by Paul Bocuse in 1987 takes place, begins at the end of next month, with the selection of the UK team's candidate – a role taken on last year by London's Restaurant Story head chef Tom Philips, who came 10th overall.
Andreas Antona, founder and chair of the Bocuse d'Or UK Academy, said: "Pierre is well respected both sides of the channel and far beyond. He is a legend among chefs with a great understanding of what it takes to achieve culinary excellence.
"I'm absolutely delighted to have Pierre and these fantastic chefs as our ambassadors. With these passionate and talented individuals on board, we're moving ever closer to achieving our goal of reaching the Bocuse d'Or podium."