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Semi-finalists Announced for Bocuse d’Or USA Competition

Written By Scott Joseph On December 7, 2009

Mark Liberman of West Palm Beach Sole Floridian

New York, NY (December 7, 2009) — The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation announced today the 12 semi-finalist chef teams who will compete in the upcoming U.S. domestic competition, to be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010 at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. (The previous US Finals were held at Epcot; I reported earlier that the competition would not return next year.) These chef teams are competing for the honor of representing the United States in the prestigious 2011 Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition, which will be held in Lyon, France, January 25-26, 2011.  Established in 1987 by Chef Paul Bocuse, the Bocuse d’Or is the preeminent international culinary competition in which teams of one chef and one commis (assistant) from twenty-four countries compete for top honors and international acclaim. The domestic competition held at the CIA will be free and open to the public, and supporters are encouraged to attend.  The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, a non-profit organization, will also hold a Gala event on the evening of February 6th at the Culinary Institute of America, with proceeds from ticket sales to support The Foundation’s efforts.

These 12 semi-finalists were selected from a pool of applicants by The Foundation’s Board of Directors, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse. This year’s semi-finalists are:

1.  Luke Bergman, The Modern, New York, NY

2.  Danny Cerqueda, Carolina Country Club, Raleigh, NC

3.  Michael Clauss, Daily Planet , Burlington, VT

4.  Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill, Atlanta, GA

5.  James Kent, Eleven Madison Park, New York, NY

6.  Mark Liberman, Roxy’s Black Sheep, West Palm Beach, FL

7.  Christopher Parsons, Catch, Winchester, MA

8.  Jennifer Petrusky, Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago, IL

9.  John Rellah, New York Yacht Club, New York, NY

10. Jeremie Tomczak, French Culinary Institute, New York, NY

11. Andrew Weiss, The Chef’s Workshop, Las Vegas, NV

12. Percy Whatley, The Ahwahanee, Yosemite, CA

To be eligible, Chef Applicants must be American citizens and 23 years of age or older at the time of the final competition in Lyon on January 25, 2011. They must also have had at least three years of experience in a fine dining establishment. The Commis Applicants must be American citizens and 22 years of age or younger at the time of the final competition in Lyon. In addition, hopefuls were required to complete an exhaustive application process which included an essay detailing their desire to represent the U.S.A. in the prestigious international competition, two letters of recommendation from chefs and/or restaurateurs, a letter of intent from a culinary sponsor and a current dinner menu from the restaurant at which the Chef Applicant is currently employed. These 12 semi-finalists were selected for their outstanding motivation, commitment to the culinary arts, demonstrated organization and high profile references supporting their candidacy.
The domestic competition will take place on Saturday, February 6th, during which the 12 teams will require incredible focus, stamina and skill to prepare two protein platters, one featuring salmon and the other featuring lamb, each accompanied by five elaborate garnishes in just five-and-a-half hours. A panel of esteemed culinary judges chosen from among The Foundation’s Culinary Council – which includes esteemed chefs such as Grant Achatz, David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Traci des Jardins, Daniel Humm, Georges Perrier, Eric Ripert, Alain Sailhac, Laurent Tourondel, Norman Van Aken, Alan Wong, Eric Ziebold, and many more – will judge teams’ platters based on excellence in taste, presentation, technical skill and overall kitchen organization. The judges will determine the winning team, which will represent the U.S.A. at the 2011 Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition. The domestic competition prizes include an award for each competing team and a trophy and cash prize for the top three final competition teams: 1st prize: $5,000; 2nd prize: $4,000; 3rd prize: $3,000.

The Foundation provides Team USA with a customized, year-long training program crafted and supervised by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Culinary Council.  In addition, all direct expenses associated with participation in the international competition are provided by the Foundation, including round trip air travel to Lyon, meals and accommodations for 15 days in France, registration fees, on-site acclimation training, competition ingredients and presentation platters.

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