Parading Team USA's "Manhattan" meat platter before judges/Photo by Joshua David Stein

Just returned to snowy Clevelandtown, a twenty-two hour haul from Lyon via Heathrow and O’Hare, thinking all the while on the Bocuse d’Or competition and feeling bad for Team USA, and wondering what to make of it all.

“This was a tough one to swallow,” Chef Kaysen wrote in an email, hours after the competition.  “I think I need some months to really draw all the inspiration that was seen there.  I realized in the beginning of the day after seeing both Denmark and Sweden that we did not play the game—we went there and did our food, we did what we thought was right because we loved it so much, but clearly there is a defined game in the way that food that should be presented.  Once that is figured out, then we have a chance.  The other option is to keep doing our food and change the way people cook, like the Scandinavian teams have done.

“We are a young country in these games…once we figure it out and catch up, the world better watch the f#%! out, because we will take it year after year.”

I like that guy’s spirit.

The food below is the winning fish platter and plate of Danish chef Rasmus Kofoed, chef-owner of Geranium in Copenhagen.  Team USA went with emotion, and personal story, a clam bake reminiscent of James Kent’s childhood summers in Sag Harbor.  And a Manhattan steakhouse, because he’s from Manhattan:

Fish:

  • Monkfish cooked sous vide with monkfish liver torchon, running through the center where the spine typically is
  • Crab and langoustine savarin with clams
  • Corn fritter with pickled radishes
  • Oyster Rockefeller—confit quail egg yolk, red pearl onion, oyster with a Parmesan crust.

Meat:

  • Lamb T-bone: loin rolled in an olive mousse, then wrapped in bacon and glazed with honey from the south lawn of the White House.
  • Lamb tenderloin cooked sous vide and then grilled, rolled in fried onions.
  • Tomato and onions
  • Wedge salad
  • Baked potato
  • Creamed spinach

I’m eager to hear the thoughts of Thomas Keller, currently en route from Paris, on his experience judging and whether competition food is fundamentally different from the emotional food he is such an advocate for. I’ll write a more thorough post on Bocuse and competition cooking after the chefs have had time to digest and reflect.

See more of Joshua David Stein’s pix (including the meat dish—you’ll see that it’s not a traditional salad and potato) and his recap/reflection at eater.com.

Also, good videos are on the All-Clad Facebook page (All-Clad, as I’ve said before, is a primary sponsor of Bocuse d’Or USA and asked me and Josh to come to Lyon, on their dime, to cover it, an opportunity I was eager to pursue).

Denmark's Winning Fish Platter/Photo by Gastros On Tour

Denmark's Fish Plate/Photo by Gastros On Tour

Gastros On Tour has more coverage and pix (and the entire Bocuse d’Or 2011ranking) on their Facebook page.