I went along to Lyon in January to support the UK team at the Bocuse D’or, the chef that had the very daunting task of cooking for team UK was Tom Philips who has worked in several celebrated restaurants including per Se in New York, Le Bristol in Paris, L’Enclume in Cartmel and he joined Restaurant Story as a sous chef in October 2017. Tom and his commis Nathan Lane represented Team UK in Lyon in January 2019, supported by coach Adam Bennett and President Simon Rogan. Tom is the youngest chef ever to represent the UK & Nathan caught the bug when he was assisting in Bocuse d’Or Europe in 2016. In the words of Neil Gerrard writing for The Caterer, “The Bocuse d’Or is ‘Noisier than a Spinal Tap concert, tenser than an entire series of MasterChef, and madder than a box of frogs’
“It is a glorious spectacle that gives rise to some of the most unashamedly elevated, sophisticated, artful cooking you are ever likely to see.” Created in 1987 by the late Paul Bocuse, one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine, the contest sees 24 top chefs from around the world compete for a place on the podium – the top prize is €20,000 and a gold Bocuse trophy. Not only do the most talented young chefs in the world compete but the jury is made of some of the world’s most respected chefs. In 2017, the jury held more than 30 Michelin stars between them. Past honorary judges have included Heston Blumenthal, Grant Achatz and Anne-Sophie Pic.
Chefs gather in Lyon, the heart of fine dining cuisine; they will also pay tribute to two of the world’s culinary greats Paul Bocuse and Joel Robuchon who both passed away in 2018. The food at the Bocuse d’Or is a celebration of traditions and modern techniques, ingredients are elevated to another level.
All the chefs must work from the same brief, a theme on the plate and a theme on the platter and they have 5 hours 35 minutes to cook, prepare and present.
This year the theme on the plate is a vegetable and shellfish chartreuse – not the liqueur but a French dish comprising seafood wrapped tightly in a decorative layer of vegetables.
The platter is a rack of suckling veal with five chops served together with one or more choices of offal from a list including sweetbreads, calf’s ruffle, foot, kidneys and liver, you can see the pictures of this dish and all the garnihes.It is to be accompanied by a minimum of 6 garnishes, themselves all a work of art. All the ideas are top secret in the run up to the event In the pictures enclosed are the final dishes that Tom created, Also you will see the picture of an I pad with almost 40 different timers that are timing every single garnish or ingredient that’s being cooked, also a very big mise en place sheet that has the whole timing schedule from start to end of the cooking competition. The team did put in an amazing effort by finishing 12th.