The 34th edition of the Bocuse d’Or, the most important cooking competition in the world, where Italy has never managed to get on the podium, has ended. France won, preceding Denmark and Norway on the podium.
The hosts, led by the chef Davy Tissot, won the 2021 final of the Bocuse d’Or, the most important cooking competition in the world, which takes place every two years in Lyon. Tissot thus brings the transalpines back to the top step of the podium after their last victory in 2013. France preceded Denmark and Norway on the podium, two Scandinavian nations always protagonists in this event which, for the first time in its history, was visited by a President of the Republic. Yesterday morning Emmanuel Macron in fact, he met with all the teams to encourage candidates and give a tangible signal of support to the entire gastronomic sector.
The Italian team
The Italian team led by Alessandro Bergamo – former sous chef of the Cracco restaurant in Milan – Francesco Tanese as commis, Lorenzo Alessio as a coach, Filippo Crisci (deputy coach) and the helpers, Noel Moglia, Graziano Patanè e Andrea Monastero he finished in tenth place. The Italian team had taken the ticket to Lyon at the European qualifiers in Tallinn, in October of last year. In the past editions – this was the 34th – of the Bocuse d’Or, Italy has never managed to get on the podium, only touched in 2001 with the fourth place of Paolo Lopriore, as best fish dish. The Azzurri team arrived in Lyon after long months of preparation led by the Bocuse d’Or Italy Academy, in collaboration with the Italian Federation of Chefs. A training that saw the direct involvement of the President of the Bocuse d’Or Italy Academy Enrico Crippa (Piazza Duomo restaurant, Alba) and the Director Luciano Tona who was not present due to a personal impediment.
How the Bocuse d’Or takes place
As usual, the challenge between the 21 teams competing in Lyon after the national and continental selections took place in the context of Sihra, the largest international fair in the Horeca sector. In the Eurexpo pavilions, on the outskirts of the transalpine city, the crowded and feverish atmosphere of major events has begun to breathe again, after long months of restrictions imposed by the pandemic. And also in the stands of the Espace des Chefs, where the Bocuse d’or competition takes place, the supporters of the various competing nations have made their noisy and picturesque support for their favorites heard. A real stadium cheer complete with waving flags, trumpets, drums, as is now customary in the Bocuse finals.
Preparation of the Plate and the Tray
Regis Marcon one of the many famous chefs present in the parterre of the competition and president of the organizing committee stressed that “Bocuse d’or is above all a cooks party, the demonstration that there is not just one kitchen but the many cuisines of the various competing countries”. Perhaps not exactly a party for the chefs of the various teams engaged, with almost military rigor, in the kitchen during the five hours and thirty-five minutes allowed by the regulations for the preparation of the Plate and the Tray. Maximum concentration and tense looks during the work, then finally a liberating smile at the end of the plate and the wait for the jury’s decisions.
This year’s theme
For the first test, this year’s theme was the Take Away to underline how the pandemic period has consolidated this restaurant model. The teams had to prepare a take-away menu consisting of starter, main course and dessert using mainly a seasonal product, the cherry tomato. The use of dairy products, eggs and shrimp were also allowed.
For the Tray, the main ingredient was the Charolaise beef priest’s hat. The braised meat had to be accompanied by two vegetable side dishes, a vegetarian ragù and a sauce chosen by the competitors. In order to facilitate and make the judges’ work fair, for the first time, the teams presented their work on a single tray that is the same for all, chosen by the organization of the competition and designed by De Buyer.
The jury and the evaluation criteria
In the tasting jury, as representative of the Italian team, also a very concentrated one Enrico Crippa, seated between Tom Victor Gausdal, silver medalist in the 2005 edition and Noriyuki Hamada, bronze medalist in 2013. The 12 sworn chefs had the task of examining the dishes in terms of presentation, taste, technique of respect of the products and the originality of the dishes. Another 12 international chefs made up the kitchen jury focused on observing the candidates’ work, respecting the rules of the competition, with particular attention to the theme of waste, more than ever topical in these months of world crisis. The difficult, sometimes dramatic context experienced by the restaurant world has inspired many chefs to design or participate in solidarity chains, where the good use of resources has been central. The 2021 edition of Bocuse wanted to recognize and pay homage to this spirit of collaboration and generosity.
Commenting on the Italian team’s race, Enrico Crippa pointed out that starting from participation in the European finals in Turin in 2018 “In any case, there has been a qualitative leap in our preparation. Seeing other teams at work, I am convinced that the road to reach the top is still long, above all – beyond the strictly technical level – we need the support of the government, large industries in the sector, important sponsors ”. The goal, as of now, is the next editions of the Bocuse d’Or. “In Budapest, next March, there will be the next European final and we have to start again soon”, adds Crippa. Also for Alessandro Bergamo, after the experience in Lyon, it is time to look forward because there is a very close appointment to honor: “The Grand Finale of S. Pellegrino Young Chef is scheduled for 29 and 30 October in Milan and it will be another important challenge as a representative of Italy”.
edited by Dario Bragaglia