Current Weather
The Spy FM

International Culinary Competition Gold Eludes Americans Again

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
January 30, 2013

Americans may have perfected food television and exported our fast food tastes around the world, but we still haven’t made it to the podium in the so-called “Olympics of Cooking.” The presitgious Bocuse d’Or chef competition, held in Lyon, France on Tuesday and Wednesday, saw Team USA unable to break its dry streak, with a seventh place finish behind winners France, Denmark and Japan.

The competition is a two-day event that’s part Top Chef with a dash of World Cup. Each team of two chefs has about six hours to prepare a meat dish and a fish dish that will wow judges with their taste, creativity and presentation.

This year the U.S. team got serious about winning and holed up for months in a nuclear bunker, prepping for their big moment. Richard Rosendale, head chef at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulfur Springs, W.V., battled it out in 2012 to win the honor of representing his country, along with commis, or assistant chef, Corey Siegel. For the last year, the two have been coached by luminaries including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse, son of the competition’s namesake, Paul Bocuse.

This year’s competition was streamed live online and drew a wide following on Twitter. Representatives from 24 countries competed in front of a rowdy audience. Each team had to make two dishes based on Irish beef and turbot (a flatfish), ingredients chosen in advance by the judging panel.

The U.S. has always been an underdog at the event and no American chef has ever placed higher than sixth, as Andrew Friedman chronicled in his 2011 book, Knives at Dawn. Fans this year were optimistic, though, chanting “USA-USA-USA” and waving signs. Fans from other countries rallied with marching bands and vuvuzelas.

Rosendale had reason for hope after the fanfare following the remarkable dish that won him a spot on the team. The platter was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house, located near his hometown in Pennsylvania. Rosendale created a similar platter for the meat portion in Lyon. American coach Gavin Kaysen says Rosendale tried to mimic the best parts about the iconic house.

“His plate has that inspiration and that flow, and he included foods they have there, like wild mushrooms,” Kaysen says.

At the international competition, chefs are required to present a dish that’s emblematic of their country. It’s posed a problem for some U.S. competitors in the past since American cuisine can be hard to define.

Rosendale decided to stick with what he knew and focused on Appalachia. For the fish portion, he poached and glazed the turbot with au jus. Beside it, he added cider-poached butternut squash, lobster mousse with cider, Virginia ham, black trufflesand a “wild mushroom explosion” that was wrapped in consume gel. His “Fallingwater” beef was a twist on pot roast with a hickory-grilled fillet that included asparagus, potato dumplings infused with beef broth and slow-roasted carrots.

His menu was crafted over the course of a year. Rosendale and Siegel also prepared themselves for the chaos of competition by piping in recorded sound of the crowd. They worked in a custom kitchen that was built inside a former Cold War bunker designed for Congress at the Greenbrier.

“We actually took chalk and chalked out on the floor basically exactly where everything was going to be,” Rosendale told CBS.

There were also new challenges this year as the competition started to resemble a reality show. For the first time, chefs weren’t allowed to bring all of their own ingredients; instead, they were given a short time to shop at a local French market for their side dishes. Teams also had to plate their fish on 14 separate dishes to mimic the acutal restaurant environment.

Despite finishing off the medal stand, adviser Keller said he was happy with the team’s performance.

“We increased three positions from the competition in 2011 so we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

There’s always 2015. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center