Orjan Johannesson from restaurant Bekkjarvick Gjestgiveri (Austevoll) in Norway has won gold in the Bocuse d’Or – the world’s most prestigious and challenging chef competition. Philip Tessier from the French Laundry in California won the silver trophy and Tommy Myllymaki from Sweden took bronze.
It is the ninth time that Norway has reached the podium and the second time that Orjan has competed in the world final. It was also the second time that Tommy had competed, having also won bronze in 2011. Despite investing millions of dollars over the past few years, this is the first time that Team USA, under the guidance of President Thomas Keller, have reached the podium.
Team UK, represented by candidate Adam Bennett, chef director at The Cross in Kenilworth secured 10th place. He was supported by University College Birmingham Culinary Arts Management student, Josh Allen, commis chef and former UK candidate and 2015 coach Idris Caldora MCA.
In a change to the competition, the candidates were asked to produce a fish dish with at least 50 per cent vegetable garnish – including one mandatory vegetable revealed the afternoon before the competition. Team UK and USA competed on the same day and had to use celery as a garnish.
Adam’s fish entry consisted of:
Fillet of French fario trout with a lobster mousseline centre and nori seaweed
Braised celery stem filled with a smoked trout brandade, topped with smoked trout, horseradish and croutons
Cylinder of potato cooked in saffron stock, creamed leeks, caviar and trout eggs on top.
‘Champagne’ velouté (made with Nyetimber English sparkling wine) and a shellfish sauce.
Watercress and pea shoots
Photograph by : LePhotographe
Adam’s striking meat platter was created by Heritage Silverware, a family firm based in Birmingham. The meat menu:
Slow cooked leg of guinea fowl, Wiltshire ham, tongue and veal sweetbread
Parfait of guinea fowl livers, beetroot glaze
Crisp potato dentelle, St Georges’ mushroom cream
Evesham “red meat” turnips, quinoa and tarragon
Staffordshire cabbage cone with black lentils
Roasting juices with English apple verjuice and rosemary
Adam, Josh and Idris were cheered on by a crowd of more than 100 UK supporters, including students from University College Birmingham and the England Band which is fast becoming a fixture of the competition.
Despite not matching his previous best of fourth place achieved in 2013, Adam remained positive about his Bocuse d’Or experience, “I’ve had a hell of a ride again and loved every minute. The strength of this competition is that every time the bar gets raised and it’s always an honour to represent the country.”
Brian Turner CBE is President of the UK Team and UK juror, added, “Adam, Josh and Idris did a fantastic job and I’m not the only one to be incredibly proud. We’re still in the top 10 of the world and with the funding we have we’ve moved forward significantly. Thanks to all our sponsors and everyone who has supported us on our journey to the final.
“Having looked at and talked with other competing teams it’s clear that they see the PR opportunity of the Bocuse d’Or for their country. We had great support out in Lyon so now we have to focus on turning that into the resource we need to match that of the most successful countries.”
The Bocuse d’Or
The Bocuse d’Or is the most sought after prize for chefs around the globe. Founded by culinary legend, Paul Bocuse, the contest has taken place in Lyon every two years since 1987.
The Bocuse d’Or takes place at SIRHA – a hotel catering and food trade exhibition. 24 countries compete, 12 on day one and 12 on day two. With the help of a commis each chef must produce a fish dish and a meat dish, each with three garnishes, presented on plates or silver flats to the jury of judges. The jury is made up of a representative from each competing country with Brian Turner, CBE, the UK juror. All this is performed in front of an audience of thousands of noisy and enthusiastic supporters and hundreds of journalists.
The contest provides a professional springboard for some of the most talented chefs in international gastronomy and is a showcase for the diversity of culinary traditions worldwide.