Bocuse d’Or 2013 (Culinary Olympics) – Canadian Chef Alex Chen & Menu Tasting

Follow Me Foodie Bocuse d’Or 2013!

It’s finally here! Today and tomorrow (January 29-30)! Are you watching?! Yes, I’m glad hockey is back too, but I’m talking about cooking right now. Hardcore cooking! Iron Chef what?! I have stayed up to watch it live and will continue to do so until my head falls completely flat on my keyboard (even though some parts are kind of boring just because I have a very limited understanding of French… most of it is in English though!)

Bocuse-dhor-23-CustomWhat I would give to be there! I’m nervous just thinking about it and some of the world’s most renowned culinary legends are there! eg: Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Paul Bocuse, Grant Achatz etc. I seriously feel like one of those crying fans at a Beatles concert. Here I am at home waving my Canadian flag in front of my computer yelling at the screen on occasion and it is just not the same. I’m still very excited and antsy though! One day. One day I will go.

The Bocuse d’Or Concours Mondial de la Cuisine is the most prestigious culinary competition in the world. The very best chefs from 24 countries will compete in the most demanding culinary competition in Lyon, France. Competitors have been preparing for years and training for months for this 2 day Iron chef like competition (but way more intense) that only happens every 2 years.

Bocuse Menu Alex (Custom)It’s a freaking big deal in the culinary world and it is sad that there is not much support for it in a broader context. It is a bigger deal in Europe and the US, but in Canada it doesn’t get as much attention or needed funding. There are 24 chefs competing, but because I am Canadian I will focus on my buddy Chef Alex Chen – the Bocuse d’Or Canada representative! C’mon, can you blame me!? It’s a competition and I am 100% biased in this case.

I’ve written about this before (see 2011 Bocuse d’Or Chef’s Culinary Challenge & Tasting Event and The 2011 Bocuse d’Or Chef’s Culinary Challenge Results & Event Recap), but this year I have been following it more closely since Alex is a friend and I’ve gotten to know more of the people involved. I actually met Alex exactly a year ago while judging BC Chinese Chef of the Year together. I also wrote about his food at the H.A.V.E. Cafe fundraiser dinner and the Taste of Talent Benefit Dinner.

Bocuse Menu Alex 2 (Custom)Together with the rest of Team Canada, commis Jack Beers (pictured in front) and Coach Chef Dan Olson (pictured behind Beers), they are going to kick some culinary butt. I don’t want to jinx him, but obviously we all want the GOLD!

I must say that Europe dominates the competition and the crazy Nordic countries are likely to take Gold, Silver and Bronze. I say “crazy” in a respectful way because everyone is crazy talented here, but the Nordic chefs tend to always do well. I will avoid the politics because that’s not what this post is about, but every event with a competitive nature will always have politics. The highest ranking of a North American chef is fourth place which is held by Bocuse d’Or Canadian Chef Robert Sulatycky in 1999. Go Canada! I was incredibly lucky to meet him along the way this year too.

Note: Photos from Cliff Hammerschmidt

The 24 countries for Bocuse d’Or 2013 are:

Australia France Netherlands
Belgium Guatemala Norway
Brazil Hungary Singapore
Canada Iceland Sri Lanka
China Italy Sweden
Denmark Japan Suisse
Estonia Mexico United Kingdom
Finland Morocc USA

 See more about them here.

2013 Bocuse d’Or Tasting Event

Before Team Canada left to compete, there was an exclusive tasting event for media at the private Bocuse d’Or Test Kitchen in Vancouver, BC. We were invited to sample what Chef Alex Chen and his team would be creating for the panel of highly acclaimed international judges.

This is not representable of what Alex will be doing at the actual competition, and this was only plated to give an idea. All 24 chefs must use Turbot as the main ingredient in the fish course and beef tenderloin as the main ingredient in the meat course.

Bocuse Menu Turbot (Custom)Fish Dish
Roasted Bone-in Turbot
Saffron Potatoes
Butter Poached Lobster
Lobster Hollandaise
Cauliflower Puree
Lobster Vinaigrette

Other components to the official plate that were not included in this sample version are: Blue lobster, black trumpet mushrooms, Canadian giant clam chowder with warm ice wine jelly and Canadian Northern Divine caviar. There are more components on the final judging plate, but I’m not sure what they are.

Bocuse Menu Tenderloin (Custom)Meat Dish
Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Bone Marrow Roulade
Seared Foie Gras
Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Ox Tail Gratin
Shaved Black Truffles

There are more components on the final judging plate, but I’m not sure what they are.

Bocuse Menu (Custom)Presentation menu for the judges recently uploaded by Alex Chen

Just a reminder that the above plates are nowhere close to the final product. The following are samples of the final presentation at Bocuse d’Or from 2011. Photos taken by Joomeo. This is the kind of stuff Alex will be doing. I know! I want to cry looking at the pictures.

Bocuse-dhor-canada_plat_poisson-Custom2011 Bocuse d’Or – Canadian Chef Ryan Stone’s Seafood Platter that I had the pleasure of sampling in Vancouver – see here.

Bocuse-dhor-canada_assiette_poisson-Custom2011 Bocuse d’Or – Canadian Chef Ryan Stone’s Seafood Plating: Kulen Wrapped Monkfish, Scottish Crab & Dashi Terrine, Langoustine & Tomato Gel, Pea& Bacon Tart, Caviar & Cauliflower Mousse

Bocuse-dhor-canada_plat_viande-Custom2011 Bocuse d’Or – Canadian Chef Ryan Stone’s Meat Platter that I also tried – see here.

Bocuse-dhor-danemark_plat_poisson-Custom2011 Bocuse d’Or GOLD WINNER: DENMARK – Seafood Platter

Bocuse-dhor-danemark_assiette_poisson-Custom2011 Bocuse d’Or GOLD WINNER: DENMARK – Seafood Plating

Bocuse-dhor-danemark_plat_viande-Custom2011 Bocuse d’Or GOLD WINNER: DENMARK – Meat Platter

Bocuse-dhor-danemark_assiette_viande-Custom2011 Bocuse d’Or GOLD WINNER: DENMARK – Meat Plating

The following photos are from Herman Nakamura taken at Bocuse d’Or yesterday.


Bocuse D'Or (2)

Bocuse D'Or (3)

Bocuse D'Or (4)Chef Thomas Keller at the judging table!

Alex, Canada is supporting you regardless of the outcome and thank you for dedicating the last 2+ years of your life to represent your country in Bocuse d’Or. Go Alex go!



  • swoonforfood says:

    I read about this and Alex in a magazine on the plane a week ago. Apparently, Alex was training like 6-7 hours a day for this event. Crazy. Best of luck to Alex! As a fellow Canuck, I’ll be cheering for Canada as well!

    Also love Lyon! It was the first city I visited in France and the food is amazing there. Culinary capital of the world, right? Perfect city to host this 🙂

  • Danielle Ow says:

    Hi Mijune,
    Danielle here, sis-in-law of Alex and posting from my apartment rental in Lyon! It was extremely intense today sitting in the stands and cheering Alex till my throat is raw but when we finally saw the first plating of the fish platter, we all breathed a sigh of relief! It looked amazing!! And then the meat platter came out and wow, that platter was a show stopper!! Can’t wait for tomorrow when we get to watch the 2nd round of 12 competitors cook and then they announce the results! What a great experience it has been so far. We are all insanely proud of Alex!! We hope everyone is watching the live streaming back home when they announce the results!! Go Alex Go!!!

  • Mijune says:

    @Danielle Ow – Hi Danielle!! Thank you so much for the update!! If you have photos or anything please feel free to e-mail them mpak @ followmefoodie . com and I would be happy to post them! We are dying for updates here!!! I am so happy everything looked amazing for Alex!!! We are so proud of him too! I was sweating watching from my computer!

  • Linda says:

    Yay! Go ALEX go!!! amazing! i’ve been following the event on flipboard and its so tense! lol wonderful work, he should be proud!

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