Bocuse d’Or theme announced today, a celebration of Cajun cooking
Montreal, February 6, 2024 — Our national culinary athletes to the Bocuse d’Or and World Pastry Cup are in full training mode, perfecting their dishes in advance to the upcoming Continental Selection set to take place in New Orleans (Louisiana) from June 11th to the 13th. Chef Keith Pears (Bocuse d’Or Candidate), Chef Olivier Potier and Chef Christophe Sportellini (World Pastry Cup duo), will need to battle other teams from across North and South America – including the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia for a chance to win the coveted golden tickets that will take them to the international competition. The “Americas” are the first step towards qualifying for a spot at the Grand Finale in Lyon (France) in January 2025.
WORLD PASTRY CUP TEAM CANADA
On Tuesday, June 11th, up to eight countries from North and South America will take part in the Americas selection of the Pastry World Cup. The three teams on the podium will qualify for the Grand Finale which will take place during Sirha in Lyon in January 2025. A new addition to the long list of requirements for Potier and Sportellini includes the creation of an emblematic dessert of the hosting country. The teams will have to work around an American staple which will be announced in the coming weeks.
BOCUSE D’OR TEAM CANADA
On June 12 and 13, the Bocuse d’Or Americas will take over the stage with up to 12 countries competing. This year’s theme, announced today, will celebrate Cajun cooking with the platter requiring the use of a wild boar rack alongside garnishes composed of grits and alligator sausage, typical products from host city. At the end of these two days, the jury will select the five best teams for the Grand Finale of the Bocuse d’Or, also scheduled in January 2025 in France.
JUST LIKE IN LYON
As the World Cup of cookery talents, the biennial events are known to be the most prestigious yet most challenging culinary competitions on the planet. Only the most exceptional chefs get to represent their countries in a battle against 24 other contenders – out of more than 60 countries participating worldwide. In addition to displaying culinary heritage, showcasing technical skills and food mastery, the Bocuse d’Or and World Pastry Cup are actively contributing to the effervescence and dynamism that drive the entire profession and culinary tourism worldwide. It’s a unique chance to also shine the spotlight on local flavours by incorporating them into the competition’s dishes that will be seen on the world stage by foodie travelers from around the globe.
While our national culinary athlete – Chef Keith Pears – has big shoes to fill as both our 2018 and 2023 Bocuse Canadian teams won silver at Continental Selections, the qualifiers is where the 2023 Pastry Team won their wild card from the internal panel of judges, to attend the international competition.
“My colleagues on the Bocuse team have always performed well at the Americas”, explains Chef Olivier Potier from Montreal. “I intend to set the bar high for the pastry competition and show the global culinary world that Canada is here to win.”
“Canada is the only country in the world to have both a pastry and a savoury team that work hand in hand to develop dishes”, adds his teammate Christophe Sportellini. “Our friendship, solidarity and appreciation of each other’s skills and experience is what attracted thousands of chefs, pastry chefs and foodies to support Canada’s culinary teams. We hope to see many come to cheer both teams in the tribunes in NOLA this June!”
“I’m training for nothing but gold in News Orleans”, explains Chef Pears who’s known for his competitiveness and for winning many of Canada’s top contests including Chopped and the Great Kitchen Party. “This is my chance to represent the Chefs Canada family and give the Canadian foodservice industry the bragging rights we deserve abroad. My motto in life is that you never stop learning because life never stops teaching but ultimately, I’m striving for perfection in Nola and then Lyon.”
In Canada, the Bocuse D’Or is a team effort. Our national culinary athletes have been working under the trained eye of a committee composed of some of the country’s best cooks.
For team Bocuse, head coach Chef John Placko is supported by appointed judge Vancouverite, Chef Alex Chen as well as nine other coaches including:
Western Canada: Chef Bruno Marti and Chef Scott Jaeger.
Central Canada: Chef Alvin Leung, Chef Jason Bangerter, Chef Dan Craig and past candidate, Chef Trevor Ritche (Bocuse d’Or 2019).
Eastern Canada: Chef Normand Laprise, past candidates Laurent Godbout (Bocuse d’Or 2015) and Chef Samuel Sirois (Bocuse d’Or 2023).
Chef Keith is also assisted by a strong kitchen team composed of Chef Sebastien Rémillard (Quebec), Gaurav Rajput (Toronto), Matthew Tai (Toronto), and Ikomang Suardana (Toronto). Professor Alexander Manu and his team at OCAD have been mandated to create the platter and molds required by the team. A commis will be elected by the team this Spring.
A second National Pastry Team from La Belle Province
Before the 2023 finals in Lyon, Canada had not had a national pastry team for over 15 years. CHEFS CANADA rebuilt the team which placed top 10 in the world and won the Eco-responsibility award, leaving the international pastry world in awe of the last team’s accomplishments. In NOLA, our chocolate pastry expert, Chef Olivier Potier, assisted by our national sugar pro, Chef Christophe Sportellini will need to create a chocolate dessert, a frozen dessert, an individually sized restaurant style dessert, as well as a chocolate and sugar sculpture to qualify.
Just like their savoury counterparts, the pastry team are coached by some of the 2023 pastry team including Patrick Bouilly, Jacob Pelletiers and Ross Baisas as well as eight stellar bakers including Christophe Bonzon, Nadege Nourian, Patrice Demers, Rodney Alleguede, Philippe Bretignière and Jean-François Millo, the manager of the team. Chef Jean-Marc Guillot from the Farimont Queen Elizabeth, recently accepted the dual title of judge and trainer, a coup since he won this competition in the past.
“It’s time that Canada claims its spot on the world stage of gastronomy,” concludes Delannoy, President of CHEFS CANADA. “There’s so much talent in all the various fields of the culinary arts, and we’re more than ever dedicated to cheering and supporting the industry and determined to make waves on the global culinary scene. Foodies need to have Canada on their travel bucket lists.”
Follow the adventure on social @chefscanada
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.
To schedule an interview with Chef Keith Pears, Coach John Placko or Chef Olivier Potier, to get more information or high-res images, please contact The PR Department Inc. at 416-535-3939 or at [email protected]