Tomorrow marks the kickoff of the 2011 Bocuse d’Or international competition. Representative chefs from around the world have trained tirelessly for the event known as the culinary “Olympics." Chef James Kent, the Sous Chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York City will represent the United States, along with his commis, Tom Allan, at the event in Lyon, France.
Training for the Bocuse d’Or is no joke. This year, Kent and Allan trained in Chef David Bouley’s headquarters in New York for eight months before traveling to Lyon last week. Chef Thomas Keller, who is the USA team president, transformed his father’s old house into a training facility for Timothy Hollingsworth (the chef representative in 2009).
The closest an American has come to clinching the Bocuse d’Or gold medal is 6th place. Still, competing is an honor for any chef. And it's not like that's the end of a career. Here is what the American competitors from recent past events have been up to since taking turns at the Bocuse d’Or.
2009: Timothy Hollingsworth (placed 6th) was the Sous Chef at French Laundry while competing at the Bocuse d'Or, and then got promoted the following year to Chef de Cuisine. He was named a Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2010.
2007: Gavin Kaysen (placed 14th) was the Chef de Cuisine at El Bizcocho in the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Francisco while competing at the Bocuse d'Or. He moved to New York later that year to become the Executive Chef at Café Boulud. Kaysen was named a Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2008.
2003: Harmut Handke (placed 6th) was the chef and owner of Handke's Cuisine in Columbus, Ohio while competing at the Bocuse d'Or. Also a Certified Master Chef, Handke has competed in more than 50 culinary competitions throughout his career. His restaurant closed in 2009.
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