Culinary greats will put their spatulas to the test in an elaborate cook-off Sept. 26-27 – during the opening weekend of the 13th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – in a quest to represent the United States at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest.
Eight two-person teams will turn up the heat in the kitchen at Walt Disney World Resort in the hope their culinary creations land them a top spot representing Team USA at the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest – commonly called the “Culinary Olympics” – in Lyon, France, in January 2009.
Walt Disney World guests can attend the competition and observe the chefs performing their culinary wizardry and savor the flavors. Each of the eight teams will serve up elaborate fish and beef dishes before a live audience and prominent panel including the country’s top chefs: Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Trotter, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Georges Perrier, Michel Richard, Laurent Tourondel and former Bocuse d’Or USA competitors.
The eight finalists competing for a spot on the U.S. Team include:
Timothy Hollingsworth, Sous Chef, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.
Chef Hung Huynh, “TopChef” Season 3 Winner, Executive Chef, Solo, New York City
Rogers Powell, Instructor, French Culinary Institute, New York City
Chef John Rellah Jr., Executive Chef, Hamilton Farm, Gladstone, N.J.
Richard Rosendale, US Culinary Olympics Team Captain, Chef/Owner, Rosendales, Columbus, Ohio
Michael Rotondo, Chef de Cuisine, Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago
Kevin Sbraga, Culinary Director, Garces Restaurant Group, Philadelphia
Percy Whatley, Executive Chef, Delaware North Parks, Yosemite, Calif.
The competition at Disney culminates Sept. 27 with a Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony recognizing the first, second and third place teams. The evening will feature a silent auction, live musical entertainment, dancing and a chance to meet and mingle with some the world’s top chefs, including the Gala Dinner Chefs, as well as Paul Bocuse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and the Deans of The French Culinary Institute, Alain Sailhac and Andre Soltner. The star-studded dinner includes hors d’oeuvres, a four-course tasting menu, and a dessert reception prepared by Chefs Daniel Boulud (Daniel, New York City), Charlie Trotter (Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago), Patrick O’Connell (Inn at Little Washington, Washington, D.C.), Michel Richard (Citronelle, Washington, D.C.), Georges Perrier (Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia), Laurent Tourondel (BLT, New York City), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, New York City), David Myers (Sona, Los Angeles) and Traci des Jardins (Jardiniere, San Francisco), and will be paired with Diageo Reserve Signature Cocktails and Moët Hennessy Champagnes. The highlight of the evening will be a Dom Pérignon toast and theannouncement of the Bocuse d’Or USA winning team.
The newly selected Bocuse d’Or USA team will go on to compete among 24 teams from around the world at the Bocuse d’Or World Competition in Lyon, in the gold standard event held every two years.
Tickets for the Gala Dinner are $450 per person, plus tax including gratuity, and can
be purchased beginning Aug. 25 by calling 407/WDW-FEST, with proceeds benefiting Bocuse d’Or USA (a not-for-profit organization sponsoring the competitors’ training, travel and culinary education).
Throughout the six-week-long Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Sept. 26-Nov. 9, guests can sample food and wine from around the world at international marketplaces and specialty dinners, attend seminars and wines schools and meet guest chefs. For more information, contact www.disneyworld.com/food.