Monday, 2 February 2015

Team UK puts in a great performance in Lyon

Orjan Johannesson from restaurant Bekkjarvick Gjestgiveri (Austevoll) in Norway has won gold in the Bocuse d’Or - the world’s most prestigious and challenging chef competition.  Philip Tessier from the French Laundry in California won the silver trophy and Tommy Myllymaki from Sweden took bronze.

It is the ninth time that Norway has reached the podium and the second time that Orjan has competed in the world final. It was also the second time that Tommy had competed, having also won bronze in 2011. Despite investing millions of dollars over the past few years, this is the first time that Team USA, under the guidance of President Thomas Keller, have reached the podium.

Team UK secured 10th place, which given Adam

In a change to the competition, the candidates were asked to produce a fish dish with at least 50 per cent vegetable garnish - including one mandatory vegetable revealed the afternoon before the competition. Team UK and USA competed on the same day and had to use celery as a garnish.

Adam’s fish entry consisted of:

Fillet of French fario trout with a lobster mousseline centre and nori seaweed
Celery puree
Celery fondant
Braised celery stem filled with a smoked trout brandade, topped with smoked trout, horseradish and croutons
Cylinder of potato cooked in saffron stock, creamed leeks, caviar and trout eggs on top.
‘Champagne’ velouté (made with Nyetimber English sparkling wine) and a shellfish sauce.
Watercress and pea shoots

Adam’s striking meat platter was created by Heritage Silverware, a family firm based in Birmingham.

The meat menu:

Slow cooked leg of guinea fowl, Wiltshire ham, tongue and veal sweetbread
Parfait of guinea fowl livers, beetroot glaze
Crisp potato dentelle, St Georges’ mushroom cream
Evesham “red meat” turnips, quinoa and tarragon
Staffordshire cabbage cone with black lentils
Roasting juices with English apple verjuice and rosemary

Adam, Josh and Idris were cheered on by a crowd of more than 100 UK supporters, including students from University College Birmingham and the England Band which is fast becoming a fixture of the competition.

Photo from Le Photographe

Despite not matching his previous best of fourth place achieved in 2013, Adam remained positive about his Bocuse d’Or experience, “I’ve had a hell of a ride again and loved every minute. The strength of this competition is that every time the bar gets raised and it’s always an honour to represent the country.”

Brian Turner CBE is President of the UK Team and UK juror, added, “Adam, Josh and Idris did a fantastic job and I’m not the only one to be incredibly proud. We’re still in the top 10 of the world and with the funding we have we’ve moved forward significantly. Thanks to all our sponsors and everyone who has supported us on our journey to the final.

“Having looked at and talked with other competing teams it’s clear that they see the PR opportunity of the Bocuse d’Or for their country. We had great support out in Lyon so now we have to focus on turning that into the resource we need to match that of the most successful countries.”

In a bid to raise awareness and funds both for this campaign and future competitions, Team UK launched a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo. Perks are available in return for donations and full details are available here:

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Why we've launched a crowdfunding campaign

With the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon now less than a week away, we've launched a crowdfunding campaign in a bid to improve our chances of success in the world’s most prestigious cookery competition.

Adam will compete in the world final on Tuesday January 27, 2015 - the first day of the two-day competition which sees 24 nations compete for a place on the highly coveted podium. This year he's supported by Culinary Arts student, Josh Allen and former UK candidate Idris Caldora.

Our goal is to raise £25,000 to help put the team in the best position for competing next week and to help build a strong succession plan for the UK. Whilst it might seem late to be raising funds, we will have plenty of bills to pay on our return from Lyon. Funds raised now will help ensure that Adam and his support team aren't left out of pocket and that we still have adequate finances in place when it comes to planning for 2017!

The campaign: hosted on Indiegogo and set up in collaboration with film partner Orama TV, will run until Sunday March 1.

The funds raised will go towards compensating and covering:

Practice time - To be in with a chance of securing a place on the podium requires months spent developing and practising every item on the menu.
Ingredients - The team require costly competition specific ingredients.
Logistics - Transportation of equipment and ingredients to Lyon.
Travel and accommodation for the Coach, Commis and Team support.
Raising awareness -  including website, advertising, PR, photography and film.
National Selection Competition.
Bid to bring the Bocuse d’Or Europe to the UK in 2018.
Future investment in the UK team.

Perks available in return for money donated include a Bocuse d’Or postcard, signed team posters, Adam’s 2015 menu brochure and the opportunity to bid for meals at his pub restaurant, The Cross in Kenilworth. Please give what you can afford, lots of small contributions will make a big difference!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Kenilworth Castle Sets the stage for Team UK Bocuse d’Or Poster

Bocuse d’Or Team UK has revealed its promotional poster, which can be voted for via the Facebook page of the Bocuse d’Or. 

Adam Bennett, candidate, Idris Caldora, Coach and Josh Allen, commis chef were photographed standing in front of the historic Kenilworth Castle, situated up the road from The Cross, the Michelin starred pub restaurant where Adam runs the kitchen.  

Team UK will compete in the Bocuse d’Or World Final on Tuesday January 27, 2015 - the first day of the two-day competition. 23 other countries will compete for a place on the podium, including Bocuse d’Or Europe winner Tommi Myllimaki from Sweden and Philip Tessier from The French Laundry who will represent Team USA.

It will be the second final for Adam, who achieved the best result ever for the UK when he competed with commis chef, Kristian Curtis in 2013. They will be hoping to achieve similar success next year. 

Adam will have just under six hours to prepare, cook and present a yet to be revealed fish for 14, along with a meat platter using Guinea Fowl ‘Fermière des Landes, Label Rouge’. The rules specify that 50 per cent of the fish plate must be vegetable or fruit based ingredients sourced from a market set up the day before the contest. The meat theme must include three garnishes and will be divided into 14 portions for the jury. 

The platter will be produced and supplied by Heritage Silverware, a Birmingham-based family business which supplies bespoke tableware to many of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants.

Preparing for the Bocuse d’Or involves a considerable amount of preparation which Adam will need to fit in alongside running The Cross, which was recently awarded a Michelin star.  He is working with Warwickshire-based butchers, Aubrey Allen, who sponsor the meat for the Bocuse d’Or team. 

Synergy Print teamed up with official photographer Jodi Hinds, to create the team poster.  The team is supported by financial donations with current sponsors including ACT Clean and Compass Group.

Bocuse d'Or fundraising dinner at University College Birmingham raises almost £25,000

Bocuse d’Or Team UK is delighted to announce that the fundraising dinner at University College Birmingham on Friday, November 28 raised £25,000.

Guests arrived to a Champagne reception sponsored by Moet & Chandon. The five course dinner was prepared by the University’s Level 3 catering students with fish provided by M & J Seafood and meat provided by Aubrey Allen. Paul Bocuse wines were kindly donated by Berkmann wines and served during the meal.

The event was held to raise much-needed funds to support Adam Bennett and Josh Allen before they head to Lyon for the Bocuse d’Or World Final on Tuesday, January 27.  It will go towards the cost of sending the team to Lyon, raising awareness of the competition in the UK and subsidising the travel and sustenance of students who will be attending supporters.

UCB Principal Ray Linforth and UCB chair Andreas Antona organised the event, which was attended by team President Brian Turner CBE and Idris Caldora team coach.  Former BBC swimming commentator Hamilton Bland hosted the auction which included many generous prizes donated by the industry and top UK chefs.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Next stop Lyon - Team UK qualifies with 6th place

Team UK and its supporters were back in action last week when Adam, supported by new commis chef, Josh Allen, took to the Bocuse d'Or stage once again.

Adam and Josh, culinary arts student at University College Birmingham and coach Idris Caldora from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts were awarded 6th place in the Bocuse d’Or Europe which took place in Stockholm on May 8th.  The chefs will go on to compete at the Bocuse d’Or World Final in Lyon on January 28th and 29th, 2015.

Chefs from 20 countries competed over the two day competition, with the 12 top scoring  teams progressing to the Bocuse d’Or World final. First place was awarded to Tommy Myllymaki from host country Sweden who won €16,000, with Kenneth Hansen from Denmark in second place winning £9,000 and Ørjan Johannessen from Norway in third place collecting €6,000.

Team UK's supporters certainly made their presence felt with the help of The England Band and representatives from Compass Group, Fresh Montgomery, Nestle Professional and Vanilla Chef playing and cheering from the grandstand.

Adam, supported by his then commis chef, Kristian Curtis, also secured 6th place at the European final in Brussels in March 2012.  His Stockholm fish menu consisted of: Supreme of Swedish Coalfish, Seaweed Sauce, Mussel Ketchup, Coalfish with Smoked Salmon Mousseline, Saffron Potatoes filled with Creamed Leeks, Pea Puree with Baby Onions and Bacon, Cucumber with poached Oyster and Sea Pearls, Mussel Ketchup, Seaweed Butter Sauce.

His meat course of Ballotine of Young Swedish Pork with Braised Trotter & Hock and Verjus Sauce was served on a silver flat. The meat menu consisted of Ballotine of young Swedish Pork with Sage, Truffle and Bacon, Braised Trotter & Hock with Vegetables, Savoy Cabbage with Bacon, Carrot filled with Ham and Mustard, Potato Croquette with Black Pudding and Bramley Apple. 

It was a great performance and once again it is thanks to the wonderful support of our sponsors that Adam and Josh were able to compete at such as high level.  Many thanks to Aubrey Allen, Classic Fine Foods, M&J Seafood, Heritage Silverware, MSK Ingredients, Ritter Courivaud, University College Birmingham and Wellocks.

The full Bocuse d'Or European selection 2014 results:

1) Sweden

2) Denmark

3) Norway

4) France

5) Finland

6) UK

7) Iceland

8) Estonia

9) Hungary

10) Germany

11) Netherlands

12) Switzerland

13) Austria

14) Belgium

15) Italy

16) Spain

17) Turkey

18) Russia

19) Luxembourg

20) Bulgaria

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Looking ahead to Bocuse d'Or 2017

Following a tense 1½ hours cooking, Adam Smith, head chef at The Devonshire Arms in Yorkshire, was awarded first place in the Bocuse d’Or National Selection at Hotelympia on Monday. Steve Love, chef patron at Loves Restaurant in Birmingham was awarded second place.

Smith was presented with the Bocuse d’Or UK trophy, donated by University College Birmingham and Villeroy & Boch winner’s plate. Love wins a trip to the Bocuse d’Or Europe in Stockholm next week, provided by Bocuse d’Or sponsor Nestlé Professional.

Provided current candidate, Adam Bennett secures a top 12 position on May 8th, both Smith and Love will have the opportunity to work alongside him as he prepares for Lyon in 2015.

(Adam Smith is presented with his award by the Bocuse d'Or UK Academy and joined by sponsors. From left to right: Simon Smith, Aubrey Allen, Ron Maxfield, Wellocks, Nick Vadis, Compass Group/ Bocuse d’Or UK, Andreas Antona, Simpons, The Cross in Kenilworth, Pure Bar & Kitchen, Adam Smith (Bocuse d’Ot UK winner) , John Williams, Exec Chef at The Ritz London, Claire Dolan, Nestle Professional, Peter Hunkermoeller, Manitowoc, Andy Daniels, Manitowoc.)

Armand Sablon, head chef at Ten Restaurant at Cafe Royal and Rajkumar Holuss from The Ritz also competed in what the judges said was a very close final.

John Williams, chair of the Bocuse d’Or UK team and 2001 candidate, led the judges which included Andreas Antona, former chef and restaurateur, Nick Vadis, culinary director of Compass Group and UK candidate 2009 and 2013, chef proprietor of The Elephant restaurant and brasserie, Simon Hulstone.

Williams commented that every candidate demonstrated excellent technical and culinary skills in very different ways.  “The standard today was excellent and congratulations to everyone who took part. We had some incredible talent competing today and our task of selecting the winner was not easy.  So much can happen between now and 2017 which is why we’ve decided to take two chefs on the journey.  We are very excited about the UK’s prospects with both Adam and Steve on board.”

(Steve Love, Adam Smith, Armand Sablon, Rajkumar Holuss)

Adam Smith, “I was thrilled to be announced as the winner at the Bocuse d’Or UK selection event, it was a tough afternoon with very strong competition from the other contestants. I believe that having taken part as a commis on 2 separate occasions with both Simon Hulstone and Andre Garrett respectfully, I  already had an idea of the style, standards, expectations and commitment of taking part, which I think is what helped me with the final result.”

The chefs had 1½ hours to prepare, cook and present three different hot garnishes, five portions of each suitable for decorating a Chicken Ballotine. In the style of the Bocuse d’Or, each entry was presented on a silver flat provided by Heritage Silverware, which also supplied the silver for Adam Bennett’s award winning meat platter in 2013.

Monday, 28 April 2014

The day is set....

Its been a busy few months for Adam as he puts his mind to the Bocuse dOr brief whilst running the kitchen at The Cross (  However, he has still managed to cook for and dine with two European ambassadors over the past few weeks.
On February 11th, Adam teamed up with Swedish Candidate (and Bocuse dOr 2009 silver winner) Tommy Myllymäki to cook a special three course lunch for the Swedish ambassador, Her Excellency Nicola Clase and guests, in the stunning and intimate setting of the Swedish Embassy. 

The lunch was in celebration of the Bocuse dOr Europe taking place in Stockholm on May 7th - 8th this year. Some of the ingredients to be used by the candidates - Grebbestad oysters, Havor Farm Pork and Saithe - were showcased at the lunch. 

Adams starter of Tartar of Citrus Marinated Loch Duart Salmon with Beetroot, Horseradish and Caraway was paired with Chapel Down Kits Coty Estate Chardonnay 2001 - a celebration of fine British produce and cooking.

Tommy used the Bocuse dOr fish ingredient of Saithe (coal fish) for the main course of Poached Saithe, Grebbestad Anchovies, Kalixlöjrom, Browned Onions and Butter sauce - paired with Jonsson Ale.

Both were award-worthy dishes and the chefs put their rivalry behind them to create a wonderful dessert of Caramelised Apples with Egg Foam and Brannland Ice Cider, Apple Sorbet and Oat Crumbs.  A fitting finale to a very special lunch.

A less labour intensive engagement took place on March 21st when Adam had lunch at University College Birmingham with the French Ambassador to the UK, Bernard Emié.  His Excellency enjoyed the hospitality put on by the students and was very impressed by the Bocuse dOr replica kitchen which is once again set up for Team UKs preparations.

Since then Adam, has been busy developing and perfecting his recipes for the Bocuse d'Or Europe. With Adams day of competition (May 8th) now days weeks away, the pressure is certainly on.