There are so many ways to define dining in luxury. In this article I’m going to focus on the ultimate achievements. For some it would be a James Beard Award or three Michelin star award. For me and many others, Bocuse d’Or is the ultimate in culinary competition and talent worldwide. January of 2015 celebrated its twentieth year of excellence and it keeps improving. I find it outstanding as it provides the opportunity for young talent to be discovered.

Young chefs around the world are preparing to compete to represent their country at Bocuse d’Or in 2017. We thought our readers might find it interesting to see how the United States is preparing and share some photos of the food from the 2015 event to introduce you to the young talent on the rise.

In 2009 TEAM USA placed sixth, but from my personal perspective, they did not have the support of enough sponsors, passion and supporters to compete at the level required to win, this culinary Olympic competition. TEAM USA has come along since then. way over the years and as they proved in January 2015, when they took home the silver medal.

There is a non-profit organization, Menťor that is devoted to “Inspiring Culinary Excellence in young professions and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America.” It was an easy decision to become a supporter when the Board of Directors includes: Daniel Boulud, Chairman; Thomas Keller, President; Jérôme Bocuse, Vice President; Marcel Doron, Treasurer; and Joel Buchman, Secretary. It has three focuses:

  • Offer educational grants and internships for chefs, sommeliers, and managers through its Grants Program;
  • Identify rising talent through its Young Chef Competition Series;
  • Recruit, train and financially support Team USA at the Bocuse d’Or Competition to build appreciation for the fine culinary arts in America.

TEAM USA 2015 for the first time ever, reached the Bocuse d’Or podium with a Silver Medal at the cooking competition in Lyon, France. All were proud of Chef Phil Tessier and his Commis, Skylar Stever, for all their dedication, passion and hard work.

Bocuse d'Or 2015 TEAM USA wins silver copyright2015 Sherrie Wilkolaski

 

Even though 2017 seems a long way, Young Chef Competition Series starts immediately in cities around the country.

The 2015 ment'or BKB Foundation Young Chef Competition held at Bouchon Bistro Beverly Hills on Thursday, August 27, 2015 Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/mentorBKB © 2015 The ment’or BKB Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The 2015 ment’or BKB Foundation Young Chef Competition held at Bouchon Bistro Beverly Hills on Thursday, August 27, 2015 Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/mentorBKB © 2015 The ment’or BKB Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Los Angeles competitors David Kneller & Chris Ferrell, Skylar Stover & Harrison Turone (1st place), Billy Lansing & Rebecca Foley (2nd place), Michelle Tribble & Andrea Saldana-Gamboa.

Ment'or Chicago

Ment’or Chicago The 2015 ment’or BKB Foundation Young Chef Competition

Chicago competitors: Sophia Manatakis & Torre Liebchen, Esther Ha & Tim Tokarz (2nd place), Ryan Peters & Tyler Borstorff, Mark Garcia & Kathryn Eurich (1st place).

Daniel Boulud Chefs Competition

The 2015 NYC ment’or BKB Foundation Young Chef Competition

New York City competitors: Joshua Okerblom & Matthew Bergen, Armando Ortiz & Zachary McCarty, Michael Dengelegi & Kati Tennant (1st place), Corey Siegel & Kyle Muller (2nd place).

ment'or Houston Young Chef Competition 2015

ment’or Houston Young Chef Competition 2015

Houston competitors: Tuler Prieve & Paris Drelbelbis (2nd place), Lee Foden-Clark & Camden Hershberger (1st place), Mara Serna & Logan Jung, Angel Medine & Keith Rzpecki.

Four candidates have been picked to compete for the amazing opportunity of representing the United States in what most consider the most prestigious cooking competition worldwide, The 2017 Bocuse d’Or.

They are:

Gerald Ford, Executive Sous Chef, Westchester Country Club, NY

Brian Lockwood, Chef de Cuisine, The NoMad, NY

Angus McIntosh, Sous Chef, The Broadmoor, CO

Mathew Peters, Executive Sous Chef, Per Se, NY.

The coach for this year’s TEAM USA will be reining Silver Award winner Chef Philip Tessier. He says of the Bocuse d’Or, “Two years ago I knew the Bocuse d’Or, as a prestigious and incredibly intense culinary competition but today, I know the Bocuse d’Or as a journey of discovery and dedication, risk and reward. We are extremely pleased with the level of talent represented in our candidates this year and await the US Selection with great anticipation. With increased awareness, mentorship and collaboration, we are confident that we, the United States, can continue to impress the international culinary world at the Bocuse d’Or.”

Of course we will be cheering on TEAM USA as well as all the other talented chefs worldwide.

Images courtesy of Ment’or except where noted.