The 14th edition of the Bocuse d’Or cooking competition started by Paul Bocuse in 1987 was held as always in Lyon France at the end of January 2013. Canada placed 9th (best ever finish 4th), USA 7th (best ever 6th) with the gold going to France (their 7th win – one out of every two years!), silver to Denmark and bronze to Japan.
In Canada we have Gold Medal Plates (GMP) www.goldmedalplates.com a culinary competition across Canada to raise funds for the charitable Canadian Olympic Foundation and over the nine years has raised more than 7 million dollars for donation to help Olympic athletes train on their Own the Podium program. All the regional GMP winners then compete in the Canadian Culinary Championships (CCC) to be named best chef in Canada. I am a judge for the Vancouver GMP competiton and I just returned from judging the 2013 CCC with 10 competing chefs this year – all champion regional GMP winners! The CCC is held over several days and has 3 main events on which the results are based:
1. The Wine Matching Challenge
The night before this event each chef is given a bottle of unmarked mystery wine and has 24 hours to shop for and develop a dish that will pair well with that wine all on a limited budget of $500 to serve 400 guests. The wine turned out to be 2010 Norman Hardie pinot noir from Prince Edward County in Ontario. Some chefs found good matches with local duck, cherries and even raspberry-strawberry tuilles in capturing the wine essence but others went to less successful matchings of ling cod and albacore tuna.
2. The Black Box Competition
Every year we have 6 ingredients in the box which each chef opens and then has one hour to prepare 2 dishes. The six catagories with this year’s selection were:
(a) Grain – Red Fife Wheat Flour
(b) Dairy – Goat Gruyere with firm strong flavours
(c) Fruit – Anjou Pear
(d) Vegetable – Black Kale ( or Tuscan Kale) – versatile use raw in a salad, in soups or pastas, sauteed, or my fav deep fried crisp kale chips!
(e) Fish – Northern Divine Sturgeon Caviar
(f) Meat – Bone in shoulder and neck of lamb – shows butchering skills but impossible to braise properly in the one hour time limit!
3. The Grande Finale
A glittering affair of a signature dish of each chef with their choice of Canadian wine for 700 guests.
The winning chef Marc St. Jacques of Toronto’s Auberge du Pommier featured a classy terrine of foie gras with lemon curd on black sesame financier.
Please post for our edification any comments you have on this or even a short note to make us aware of any of your own city or regional culinary competitions.