Before there were Celebrity Chefs, Iron Chefs or even Master Chefs, there was the Bocuse d’Or. A competition devised by the man many consider the world’s greatest living chef, Paul Bocuse. It is a showcase of culinary diversity, providing a springboard for the world’s most dedicated young chefs.
Not quite the Olympic gold medal of cooking, more a marathon of food excess over two days in individual plexi-glass kitchens (or contest laboratories) with the best chefs in the world officiating and judging. Every two years, 24 chefs and their assistants cook up a storm and only three take home the highly coveted medals. Representing the best kitchens in the world, these chefs are trained by the greatest stars of the culinary world to perform in front of a live audience to create two exceptional protein dishes within the allotted 5 hours and 35 minutes. Judging is also complicated. Twenty-four judges from 24 countries serve on either meat or a fish jury. Former judges and officials have included Ferran Adria, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.
In January next year, Shannon Kellam will represent Australia for a second time. In 2013 we scored a highly respectable 15th in a field of 24 teams with Shannon at the helm. Shannon has won more than 80 medals in salon culinaires around the world in his 20-year career. “This isn’t just an achievement for us as individuals – ranking highly in such an esteemed competition on the world stage is a win for Australian cuisine, and the future of Australian chefs,” said Kellam.
Because of the long and arduous training program fundraising is needed to get Chef Kellam and his Commis Chef Jessie Lucas to Lyon in January. On Saturday August 9, six of Australia’s most acclaimed chefs will cook a delicious 5-course menu at the Victoria Park Golf Club in Brisbane for a gala black tie dinner.
Melbourne chefs Scott Pickett and Phillipe Mouchel will combine forces to create a range of amazing canapés including Ballotine of quail with black truffle and joeslito and veal tartare cone with oyster, avocado and tonnato sauce.
Formerly head chef of the Nobu restaurant group and now designing some of the most exciting menus in Sydney, Chase Kojima is responsible for the Seafood Appetiser. The Sokyo at the Star chef will serve Salmon sashimi, Kyoto baby peach puree, beetroot and horseradish salsa with nasturtium and white soy ponzu. The Foie Gras appetiser in the capable hands of Nic Poelaert of Brooks Melbourne will consist of a foie gras parfait, parsley, meringue, vinegar and onionskins.
The main will see Perth’s Stephen Clarke work his magic with a slow cooked tenderloin and short rib of Stanbroke Diamantina Wagyu and pommes fondant with carrot and onion textures. And the finale goes to Pierrick Boyer, Executive Pastry Chef at RACV Melbourne’s Le Petit Gateau – textures of hazelnut, yuzu vanilla and Manjari Valhrona with a reduction de framboises.
Commencing at 6.30pm, tickets are $185 per person or $1750 for a table of 10 and are available via Eventbrite: http://www.bocusedoraustralia.com.au/events/
But of course the last word must go to the master, Paul Bocuse. himself. “Dreaming … what makes the Bocuse d’Or magic, is the opportunity to review all the gastronomic cultures of the world in just two days. It opens new horizons, reveals techniques as you watch all the tricks, the subtle recipes and the dedication of those who compose them.
As the public watches, everyday products become authentic masterpieces. A spell, which will turn three new master chefs into internationally famous names.”
(The featured image is an individual serve of Shannon Kellam’s Lamb platter at the Bocuse d’Or Asia finals, Shanghai_copyright by Lucas).