In the world of food, the Bocuse d’Or competition could be considered the Olympics. Started in 1987, the Bocuse d’Or competition’s mission is to help bring chefs out of the kitchen and into the spotlight.
The international cooking competition takes place every two years and brings together 24 chefs from around the globe, each representing their country. During the two years, these athletes train to produce next-level dishes for the demanding competition. After the semi-finals that take place in a new location each year, selected teams move on to the finals in Lyon, France, where they have five and a half hours to create a masterpiece.
Team Canada scored the silver at the semi-finals that took place in 2018, coming in right behind Team U.S.A. This means the stakes are even higher at the finals, taking place in Lyon, France, Jan. 29-30th.
It’s no simple feat, but Bocuse d’Or has the ability to bring international attention and acclaim to a country’s food scene. Not to mention, this long-running culinary competition holds serious weight with European gourmands, meaning a competition win for any country could mean a big opportunity for tourism.
Canada’s participation in Bocuse d’Or is an occasion for us to demonstrate our culinary skills and express Canadian culture with high quality, local ingredients. Trevor Ritchie, representing Canada at the 2018-19 Bocuse d’Or competition said, “We worked hard for our golden ticket to the finals. It’s a unique chance to showcase techniques and food mastery but also an opportunity to shine the spotlight on local flavours.”
Exposing our homegrown talent to famed chefs and industry profiles will position us not only as a key food tourism destination but a sought-after market for industry brands to consider for growth and expansion. This is the first time Canada had to secure a spot in the finals, making it an important and historic event for the industry here.
Chef Trevor Ritchie heads up Team Canada and is supported by Jenna Reich (commis) and James Olberg (coach). From Jan. 29-30, they will be one of 24 teams to try their hand at taking home the gold in the finals. Since their selection as part of Team Canada, the group has been training with some of Canada’s most recognized chefs, such as John Higgins and Normand Laprise, to master the cutting-edge culinary techniques.
Each team is judged on taste, presentation, creativity, innovation, composition, and service practicality. The kitchen jury also awards points for non-wastage and sustainability, as well as for hygiene, preparation, technique and organization.
The challenges awaiting the team at finals will demonstrate their mastery, skill and knowledge. They will endeavor to turn a classic dish into a modern culinary masterpiece with the stipulation of using offal and veal rack. Chefs must execute the perfect carving as the dish must be presented on a unique custom-made platter and carved in 14 portions. In the second half of the competition, the candidates will also have to create their own interpretation of a vegetable chartreuse with shellfish, as a tribute to famed chef Joel Robuchon (who passed away in August).
This year not only marks the first time Canada has earned a spot in the finals, but also the first time that candidates will be selected at a live competition. During RC Show 2019, candidates for the Canadian Bocuse d’Or team for 2020-21 will have two hours in front of an audience to reinvent a Canadian classic — tourtière.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Bocuse d’Or Canada in the search for the next contender,” said Shanna Munro, President and CEO at Restaurants Canada. “We hope to see chefs from coast to coast coming together to support the two-hour cooking challenge on our Garland Culinary Stage, and to find out who has the skills it takes to become the candidate of the toughest chef competition in the world.”
We are excited to have the opportunity to exclusively introduce the candidates for the Bocuse d’Or Team Canada:
The competition will take place on Feb. 26 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Once the winner is crowned at the RC show, he or she will move on to start training and practicing for the upcoming semi-finals to represent Canada on the world stage for Bocuse d’Or 2020-21.
To cheer them on in person and to experience this captivating show of talent, join us at this year’s RC Show.