Bocuse d’Or: meet your worst nightmare

So, you’ve heard of the Bocuse d’Or.  You know Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud are throwing their formidable weight behind the selection and preparation for the 2009 competition this coming January in Lyon, the home of the original golden Bocuse himeself.  You might even know that Hung, the winner of Top Chef last year, is reportedly interested.

You probably also know today is the last day to submit your application if you want to make the team and spend the next six months training with Thomas Keller and a roster of big name chefs at a secret training center.  Ok, it’s next door to the French Laundry, so perhaps not so secret. 

But do you know who you’re up against?  Let me give you a peek.  The leader of the French team is Philippe Mille, and he’s going to be a formidable opponent for the US team to beat.  Who is this Philippe Mille, you asked?  Not some young upstart, I can tell you that.  He is second to Yannick Alleno at the three-star Le Meurice in Paris.  Knowing how exigent and demanding Yannick can be on his cooks, I must say I’m already plenty impressed by this guy.

My friend Stéphane Riss of Cuisiner en Ligne in Paris has been making videos chronicling the French team’s preparation, and he’s kindly letting me share some with you here.  The video on top of this post gives you a little peek at Philippe Mille cooking,
and the one after the jump talks to the team on a visit to the famous
Musée d’Orsay to see if they can get any inspiration from the beautiful
Impressionist arts inside.

I don’t know about you, but if the French is visiting museums and concerts and art galleries, the American team might also think about getting out of sleepy Yountville once in a while too, no?

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  • http://afaustianbargain.blogspot.com faustianbargain

    i assisted for one of the uk initial selection cook offs. here is the embarassing thing..i cant remember if it was the bocuse d’or or roux scholarship selections. michel roux.jr was there setting up everything..but then again cordon bleu, london is owned by cointreu which sponsors bocuse d’or on several levels. anyways..thats not important as this was one of the initial regional selections..the judges were ruthless. i was dazzled by a giant tin of caviar that i was asked to distribute and as my station was closest to the door… i got to meet all the judges who came to ‘check’ on the caviar and ‘accidentally’ heard their comments.
    i was wearing a yellow sapphire ring at that time and had to hear comments like “your ring is worthless..the caviar is more precious”…”marry the guy who bears the caviar..divorce your husband”..followed by other stuff i’d rather not repeat here. french kitchen humour at it’s most refined..i found out later that compared to what goes on french kitchens, they were being almost chaste in front of the indian woman. but it got very serious very quickly when the contestants/candidates arrived. speed, economy of movement, technique, doneness, cleaniness..of course..flavour and taste matters. interestingly, points for plating wasnt that high at that level.

  • http://eggbeater.typepad.com/shuna/ shuna fish lydon

    Hey. Yountville’s not so sleepy all the time. In fact I witnessed a meth lab drug bust complete with helicoptor flying low, undercover cops with guns drawn, and 2 suspects flat on the ground right in front of and while working at TFL.
    It gets exciting there every few years…

  • http://www.chefsgonewild.blogspot.com Zenchef

    C’est tres interessant tout ca. Merci Pim de partager avec nous. J’ai hate de voir ce qui va se passer! :-)

  • denise martin

    i would like to know where i can find phillipe mille – is he working in some restaurant, hotel? we will be travelling to paris this month and we would like to taste his wonderful food!

  • http://www.myspace.com/nataliesztern_blondee47 Natalie Sztern

    Pim this is a fabulous read and watch.
    I have no doubt about the French team in their quest not just to win the Bocuse D’or but as in everything: beat les Americains.

  • http://www.cuisinerenligne.fr stephane

    I hope that we will regain the france on the podium, but this year the concurence is hard …
    Pim Thank you for this post.
    Stéphane

  • http://hobbiszakacs.blog.hu Hobbiszakács (Hobbykocken)

    Hi! You can find some pictures from the Bocuse d’Or European Championships, held in Stavanger (Norway) July 1-2, 2008, i.e. the last week, here:
    http://hobbiszakacs.blog.hu/tags/beszámoló_az_első_szakács_európa_bajnokságról
    and
    http://hobbiszakacs.blog.hu/2008/07/04/kepes_villamriport_az_elso_szakacs_europa_bajnoksagrol_2
    The blog is in Hungarian :-(
    Pictures of the contestants (Philippe Mille too) and the food prepared are listed here:
    http://www.buffet.no/no/buffetnews_41_158.html
    http://www.bocusedor.com/eu/en/presse/photos_1.php

  • http://www.tiffanyfree.com/tiffany-pendants.html Tiffany Pendant

    You’re welcome all. I just adore him. Too bad Stockholm is a bit too far to drop by for dinner!