Guillaume J Plisson
It's been one year since I competed in the Bocuse d'Or USA cooking competition in Hyde Park, New York, yet the memories still excite me. My experience at the qualifier for the international Bocuse d'Or 2011—the world's most prestigious cooking competition, which is being held today and tomorrow in France—far exceeded my expectations, and the disappointment (I won third prize) is still fresh. While sitting on the plane to Lyon to see this week's event firsthand, I couldn't help but feel a bit anxious. On a run earlier that day, I thought of the competitors and the painstaking details they must be delving through, and it sent me back to the days leading up to Hyde Park.
With the competition underway, no more practice can take place, only mental run-throughs and seemingly endless levels of organization. I've read the lineup of chefs and it is truly impressive. For the USA to win, the team will have to beat some seasoned veterans, who are quite hungry, I'm sure, and are only back for one reason—the sublime yet fleeting taste of victory.
Regardless, there is little doubt that this year the U.S. has compiled its best effort in the form of Team Kent: James Kent and Thomas Allan, both sous chefs at New York's Eleven Madison Park. This fact, however, should not downplay the enormous task ahead of them. After all, for the U.S. to win they will fiercely have to put their best foot forward without misstep or falter; all of their competitors will surely leave no room for error.