BEHIND THE SCENES OF BOCUSE D’OR
One of our tourism and catering students, Anna Bucsi, is spending an Erasmus+ exchange semester in Institut Paul Bocuse, France. She had an opportunity to participate on the prestigious event of Bocuse d’Or. You can read her experience here.
First of all, just a quick reminder of what’s precisely the Bocuse d’Or. It’s the most prestigious culinary arts event, taking place biennially in the capital city of gastronomy, Lyon. It’s founded by Paul Bocuse, one of the most prominent chefs of this century, who was also the mentor of some of the most
celebrated chefs alive. Before being qualified for this contest, the participants have to compete for their place at primer selections, such as Bocuse d’Or Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America or Africa. The current Hungarian team is composed by Adam Pohner, Richard Csillag (Adam’s commis) and
Viktor Segal, as the team’s coach. The teams are training for years to be one of 24 candidates in this competition. The jury is tasting for two days, however, each team has only 5 hours and 35 minutes to prepare and present their dishes. This year, for the tribute of Paul Bocuse and Joël Robuchon (first and latest Honorary President of the Bocuse d’Or) who passed away this year, the main theme was the famous French dish: “Chartreuse” which had to contain vegetables and shellfish. Besides that, they had to present the rack of suckling veal with five prime chops on a platter. During this contest, the participants had to use pre-assessed ingredients and the kitchens were examined by the kitchen jury to avoid any kind of cheating such as preparations in advance. The limited time factor (5 hours and 35 minutes) is also one of the challenges presented to the contestants. People were travelling from all over the world to see the amazing dishes, the exciting competition and who wins the Bocuse d’Or. The fans came to Sirha to see outstanding culinary stands to represent their countries and to encourage their teams.
A few months ago, when I won the scholarship at the Institut Paul Bocuse, I was wondering if I could come back to Lyon after I finish the semester to watch the Bocuse d’Or Finale. I’ve never taught that I’ll be one of the lucky ones, who will serve the plates -prepared by the bests-for the jury.
I think it was a big responsibility to fulfil this role, I had to concentrate and highly attentive, which sometimes was difficult because I had to wake up at 4 am. to go to the Eurexpo and have the briefing and the preparation for the service. Besides that, I had the chance to see and talk with the international jury at the backstage. They came from all around the world to taste and evaluate the dishes, which maybe seems to be an easy task, but as they said it’s quite challenging and tiring to stay focused and fair during the tasting and giving the points. While the jury was evaluating the dishes, another committee was checking the work in the kitchens as well. There were a lot of conditions to respect, such as cleaning and food wasting.
I was getting ready for the service when I got the unexpected news that Tamas Szell, former Hungarian Bocuse d’Or contestant, will sit in the grand jury. To me, serving and seeing these beautiful plates was a unique experience. When I was serving the Hungarian team’s dish, my heart was beating faster, I was proud of the guys. It was impressive how many Hungarian supporters were there at the grandstand supporting our team. They were shouting, singing and applauding during the competition. It had an encouraging atmosphere, however, for the participants, it must have been hard to concentrate and to exclude the noises. For them, every second counted, so their coach was responsible for the timing to make sure, that everything is going by the plans.
In the end, the young and enthusiast Hungarian team, who was preparing to this contest every day for months, performed very well. Being the 12th in the world is a great result at this prestigious contest, and I think the next time if they come back to the final, they’ll be even better and more experienced.
After the final, we went to celebrate the hard work with the guys and all of the people who were helping their preparation for months. During the competition they didn’t have too much time to eat or relax, so it was good to sit down and to talk about their experiences.
Follow my next adventures at abculinary.com or Instagram: bucsianna
Anna's Erasmus+ Blog: https://www.metropolitan.hu/anna-bucsi
2019. 01. 30.
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