Every two years since 1987, chefs from around the world have met in a friendly culinary battle culminating in three of them climbing the podium. After an 8-month delay, the competition kitchens came alive again for the 2021 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon. In this episode, Ragnar catches up with Catherine Guérin of Bocuse d’Or Winners about the prestigious event, and what drives its winners to the podium.
The Bocuse d’Or prize-winners’ association was started in 2000, backed by Rougié, to help strengthen the ties between all the winners. Now with the name Bocuse d’Or Winners, their mission has grown beyond promoting the bonds of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition. Bocuse d’Or Winners pays tribute to the power of the cooking profession, from providing micro-loans to help small entrepreneurs to supporting its members in coaching rising competition talent.
“Paul Bocuse wanted a show, and that was very innovative. There were cooking contests before, but he said for the first time ‘We will have the public in front of us,’ … he loved that.”
To help bring the next generation of competitors into the fold, Bocuse d’Or Winners created, together with Rougié, the Best Commis Chef Prize. Presented during the Bocuse d’Or to a young cook, the prize rewards their professionalism during the trials and assisting candidates. The prize is a highly coveted sign of recognition for those who play a key role in each candidate’s performance.
With 2021 a year like no other, Bocuse d’Or launched a new award in partnership with GL events, the Social Commitment Award. It recognizes a Bocuse d’Or team for its societal involvement in areas related to food. This year seven countries applied to receive the Social Commitment Award. The winner was Team Colombia for their project COCA, NO COCAINA.
Bocuse d’Or Winners also support Babyloan, the leading European micro-credit platform. The solidarity-based micro-credit organization provides funding to micro-entrepreneurs to help to build a better food system. Loan recipients are often passed over for loans by traditional banks, dubbed either too “small” or too poor. Whether they grow vegetables, raise sheep, sell homemade dishes, or manage neighborhood restaurants, they need to invest in order to develop their business. Babyloan and Bocuse d’Or Winners help them to finance their needs, while respecting their dignity. To date, Bocuse d’Or Winners have enabled the funding of 182 solidarity loans for a total amount of €95,800.
Tune in for insight from Catherine on culinary competition, reaching the podium, and stepping off it to do even greater things. All this and more on this episode of World on a Plate.
On their website you’ll also find beautiful recipes from their illustrious membership.
After each Bocuse d’Or final in Lyon, the Winners publish a book. Check out their library here.
To hear more on Bocuse d’Or, tune in to our conversation with Christian André Pettersen, Bocuse de Bronze 2019 recipient and one to watch.
Have you created your free account on Worldchefs online community? It’s a great way to connect with competitors and the world’s top judges. You’ll find all our Worldchefs Certified Judges along with culinary competitors, companies, jobs and more. Visit www.worldchefs.org/login to join now and start connecting with Worldchefs members around the globe.
Special thanks to Catherine Guérin for joining us as a guest.
World on a Plate is supported by Nestlé Professional and our podcast sponsors.