Montreal, January 23, 2023 – After winning silver and their golden ticket to the world finals in France, today, our national culinary athletes to the Bocuse d’Or placed 11th, moving Canada up two places from the 13th position in 2019.
Proud of their accomplishments, Chef Samuel Sirois, a teacher at Montreal’s ITHQ, and his team composed of sous-chef Léandre Legault-Vigneault and coaches Master Chef judge Alvin Leung and Gilles Herzog, fought their way through the five-and-a-half-hour culinary battle featuring monk fish and sea scallops as the mandatory ingredient of the platter. Under the theme “Feed the kids”, the plated portion of the competition shone the light onto the importance of children nutrition. The chefs had to create a menu based on marrow and had to include one egg per portion in their recipe. With their dedication to showcase products from Canada, Chef Sirois also included camelina oil, seaweed and mushrooms in his dishes.
“The competition was intense, but we set ourselves apart amongst ‘la crème de la crème’,” states Sirois. “Ultimately, our participation in the World Cup of cookery talents had the sole objective to put Canada on the world’s list of top culinary destinations with gourmets from all over the globe and we did just that for our country and our industry.”
The road to Lyon: an invitation to gastrotourists from around the globe
While the world’s greatest athletes were preparing for the World Cup, 24 teams comprised of some of the best chefs on the planet were gathered in Lyon at the Stanley Cup of food. Known to be the most prestigious and difficult culinary competition on Earth, the Bocuse d’Or is an event that makes fine dining an arena sport. It comes with all the trimmings including uniforms, judges, cheering fans holding flags, bronze-silver-and-gold statuettes, and winners on podiums beaming while their national anthem blares in the speakers. And while there’s glory in winning one of the culinary Oscars, the road to Lyon is a long process that takes passion, dedication, and a strong desire for perfection.
“Our two-year process starts with a call for applicants,” explains Thomas Delannoy, President of Chefs Canada, the organization that manages our national culinary teams. “Once hopefuls have been interviewed by our board, only four are selected to compete on the Garland stage of the Restaurant Canada Show. Based on their food mastery, technique and experience, the panel of chefs and industry professionals elect our national culinary athlete to the Bocuse d’Or. After repeating a similar process to find our sous (a wingman/woman who needs to be less than 22 years old at the time of the competition in France), this duo and their coach represent Canada on the world stage for two years and perfect their art at our national training centre at Montreal’s ITHQ full time. It’s an experience of a lifetime.”
Like more than sixty countries around the globe looking for one of twenty-four chances to make it to Lyon, Canada has participated in every Bocuse d’Or since its inception in 1987 – with first candidate being Toronto Chef Jamie Kennedy. More than just a cooking competition, the Bocuse d’Or winners’ circle is about planting a nation’s flag on European haute cuisine and beating the French at their own game. It is also known to foster national pride and drawing the coveted eyes (and wallets) of global culinary tourists.
“Seventy percent of travelers select a destination based on its food and beverage”, concludes Delannoy. “That’s why Team Canada works to represent the local restaurant industry and to define, in the eyes of the world, what Canadian gastronomy is. Chefs Canada is a family of more than a thousand chefs from coast to coast that have understood the importance of competition to promote our terroir, our producers and help to give our profession the lustre it once had. Most importantly, our goal is to put Canada at the top of the list of culinary destinations for travelers – and that benefits every restaurant, hotel, and foodservice businesses.”
ABOUT CHEFS CANADA
Devoted to inspiring culinary excellence, CHEFS CANADA has a mission to promote Canadian cuisine, terroir, producers, ingredients and products here at home as well as abroad, doing our part to create a sustainable and profitable culinary scene. Strong of a network that counts some of the country’s best chefs and top industry professionals, CHEFS CANADA works to shine the spotlight on our industry in order to further define and promote our cuisine through global competitions and partnerships. The organization is strongly rooted in their desire to unite, share and transmit our mutual expertise, techniques and savoir-faire amongst Canadian chefs but also with the next generation, creating a demand and standard for Canadian gastronomy on the world stage.
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