US Chefs Take Gold in Culinary 'Olympics'

In a first, team USA takes top honors in annual French contest
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2017 8:21 AM CST
US Chefs Take Gold in Culinary 'Olympics'
The US captured top honors in France's annual culinary "Olympics."   (Twitter)

Team USA won big at the annual culinary Olympics in France, capturing the gold medal—the coveted Bocuse d'Or—for the first time. The American chefs wowed the judges with their take on a Lyonnaise classic, poulet bresse aux ecrevisses (chicken and crayfish), beating 23 other teams on Wednesday to take top honors in the 30-year-old contest. Norway followed and Iceland took the bronze, while the home team was relegated to fifth. A decade ago, team USA president Thomas Keller promised Paul Bocuse, the legendary French chef and contest namesake, that the US would one day "make it to the top of the podium." He tells the New York Times, "We made it in nine." The challenge this year in a packed Lyon hall was to whip up a meat and a vegan dish in five hours 35 minutes, undistracted by blaring horns and a thousand shouting, flag-waving fans.

Imagine a higher-octane Iron Chef, "like watching six soccer matches happening at once in the same room," per Eater. Not surprisingly the chefs are typically young climbers who don't mind screaming techno music and mariachi bands. Like the best athletes, lead chef Matthew Peters, 33, and helper Harrison Turone, 21, took a year off from Keller's New York restaurant Per Se, to train for the showdown. They came up with a headliner of chicken with morel mushroom sausage topped with lobster sauce. The vegan dish paired California asparagus with cremini mushrooms and a Meyer lemon confit. Presentation counts for a lot, and this year's trend was complicated diorama-like spreads, per Eater. (See a photo of the winner here.)

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