For marathoners, it’s the Olympic race. For serious writers, it’s the Nobel Prize. For chefs, it’s the Bocuse d’Or. In 26 year history of the competition, no America team has ever won the coveted honor.
In order to compete in this international arena, you have to first win a national competition. Last month, thanks to KitchenAid, I had the chance to observe this year’s U.S. competition at CIA in Hyde Park, NY. Though I have seen the competition on TV, the energy surging throughout the campus gym was nothing I have experienced. The bleachers held cheering fans, the PA system blared club music, and huge overhead screens showed close-ups of the action.
Each of the four teams was charged with two dishes of their own invention based on two main ingredients: cod and chicken. The concentration, precision, artful execution of each element was guided by the teams’ coaches. These chefs had trained as intensely as any athletes to execute the dishes in 5-1/2 hours.
At a predetermined time, the dishes were brought out to the seated judges, who then dissected each element on the plate, accessing the taste, texture, presentation, and overall quality of the meal. They took notes and pictures and then filled out detailed score sheets between more bites of food and sips of champagne.
As it turned out, the winner was the chef with the most fans in the stands and the biggest culinary buzz. Richard Rosendale of Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia took home the honor. Next January, lead by Coach Gavin Kaysen, Captain Richard Rosendale along with his commis Corey Siegel, will represent the U.S. at the international competition in Lyon, France.