Its history! Its actually history! I get goosebumps simply believingthinking of it! So exclaimed an ecstatic Chef Gavin Kaysen at the Sirha in Lyon, France, when Executive Sous Chef Philip Tessier and Commis Skylar Stover of The French Laundry clinched the Silver Bocuse at the Bocuse dOr.
With only 5 hours and 35 minutes on the clock, Tessier and Stover required to the cooking area for the performance of a life time, played out in front of a jury of 24 renowned chefs, an audience of 2,500 horn-blowing fans, and sufficient international media to make the press pit feel more like the mosh pit at a metal show. Undaunted by the time pressure, sound, unknown kitchen area, and gravity of the competitors, participant and commis did the finest food ever in a carefully choreographed cooking area dance.
Bocuse dOr Group U.S.A Candidate Chef Philip Tessier (left) and his Commis Skylar Stover can definitely take the heat in the cooking area (Image courtesy Sirha)
It was a dream teaman all-star team. Tessier and Stover were coached by Bocuse dOr 10-year veteran Chef Gavin Kaysen, Michelin three-star Chef Grant Achatz provided extra training, and cooking giant Thomas Keller directed the group as President of the Coach BKB Foundation which supports Team U.S.A.
All smiles, Team USA Coach Gavin Kaysen (left) looks on as Candidate Philip Tessier breaks down the Guinea Fowl (Image courtesy Sirha)
Instantly following the Awards Ceremony, I asked coach Gavin Kaysen about Philip Tessiers food preparation, he smiled, eyes wide, With everything Phil did, hed seek out at me and say, This is the finestthe very best one Ive ever done.
Team U.S.A Meat Plate being provided to the media, see images at the end of article for in-depth descriptions of the dishes (Regina Varolli)
Bocuse dOr Team UNITED STATE Meat Platter being providedexisting to the media, Tessier in the background prepping to plate the meal for the jury (Regina Varolli)
The thing with Phils platter and with his food, explained Kaysen, is that there were no firecrackers just for show, it was all about taste, everything on the platter got plated and served.
Philip Tessier starts plating the meat course (Regina Varolli)
Philip Tessier (ideal) and Skylar Stover put the complements on the meat course prior to its served to the 24-member jury (Regina Varolli)
Phil Tessier was in a vapor world following the awards event. Having spent the betterbulk of a year training part-time and 6 months full-time, he said he couldnt have requested everything on the ground to go any better. I understood we had a truly strong possibility, we got a lot of truly remarkable feedback the first day, which was extremely newbrand-new for us.Though not
a part of the ballot jury, Grant Achatz tasted every fish and every meat from every nation. When he stated this, I asked And …? He chuckled, You know, its a great deal of food! Then he continued in a more serious tone, It was pretty clear that we had won the first day by a broad margin. The food was completely prepared, completely skilled. I believe really what it came down to was the food that Philip and Skylar set up was simply delicious. It was the finestthe very best tasting food, in my opinion, of the whole Bocuse dOr. He described the dishes as Super clean, made up, and thought-out. Not too much on the plate to crowd anything, everything stuck out. He sported a satisfied smile, Clearly the jury responded to that.
Grant Achatz, Bocuse Jury Honorary President (left) and Thibaut Ruggeri, President of the International Jury and Bocuse dOr 2013 Winner, tasting the meat dish from USA (Regina Varolli)
Each nation competing is represented by a jury member, and this year Chef Thomas Keller put on that toque. Keller did a fantastic offer to helpto assist Tessier and Stover, not the least by permitting them the time they needed far from The French Laundry kitchen to practice. Completely made up and perfectly professional, when it came time to taste the dishes coming out of the Team UNITED STATE cooking area, Keller kept cool, though plainly he cared a lot about how his fellow jurors were responding.
Thomas Keller pauses from tasting the U.S.A meat dish to glance down the judging table and determine the subtle responses of his fellow jurors (Regina Varolli)
Of day 2 of the competitors, the day of the Awards Ceremony when U.S.A wasnt food preparation, Tessier stated he may have actually been more anxious. We spent the wholethe entire day waiting, watching the other teams compete, looking at their food, it was nearly more challenging than the other day. For Kaysen, the wait was not so bad, Till like an hour before the Awards Event, then I couldnt feel my heart. But thats thin!
Entrant Philip Tessier and Coach Gavin Kaysen, waiting … (Regina Varolli)
The third location Bronze Bocuse having actually been announced, taken by incoming favorite Team Sweden, the minute of truthdecisive moment came when Host Vincent Ferniot handed the envelope to Grant Achatz, with a spirited thrive and a dramatic hold-up to heighten the suspense. Of the option to provide him the envelope, Chef Achatz was amused, Shall we state it was actually hassle-free that I got to check out that they had victoried the silver?
Grant Achatz slowly and suspiciously opens the envelope consisting of the winner of the Silver Bocuse. Left to right: Jury President Thibaut Ruggeri, Chef Grant Achatz, J rÃ´me Bocuse, son of Paul Bocuse and Coach BKB Foundation Vice President, and Emcee Vincent Ferniot (Regina Varolli)
When Team UNITED STATE heard Achatz make the statement, they exploded, in addition to the entire home. Team U.S.A had actually been the buzz for the wholethe entire competition, and the viewed underdogs had actually just defied their previously poor pedigree.
An outstanding moment, Team U.S.A erupts upon hearing theyve just victoried Silver. Left to right: Commis Skylar Stover, Chef Philip Tessier, Coach Gavin Kaysen, and Chef Thomas Keller (Regina Varolli)
Having actually spearheaded the MentOr Foundation, and Chairman of the same, Chef Daniel Boulud ended up being the personification of enjoyment when he heard our guys had taken the Silver. Seated in advance with other luminaries and corporate sponsors, Chef Boulud bounced from his seat and started cheering and snapping pics on his phone. He waited until the Bocuse dOr winners were announced, Group Norway, and granted their fifth Gold Bocuse, then, when the minute was allowable, he pressed his way to the podium.
Thumbs up to making history! Left to right: Daniel Boulud, Skylar Stover, Gavin Kaysen, Thomas Keller, Phil Tessier (Regina Varolli)
Understandably overwhelmed by the truth that was just sinking in as he stepped off the podium, a somewhat speechless Thomas Keller stated, Its … its difficult to explain how I feel. When I said that he had actually worked really hard for this he replied, They worked very hard. Everyone worked very hard. And its good to see that they got there, it truly is. We did it for Paul. He went peaceful for a minute, and I glimpsed in his eyes a flash of unhappiness, the ailing Paul Bocuse was incapable to attend the Awards Ceremony that day. So I informed Chef Keller how proud I felt to see him and the others up on that podium for the very first time. He smiled, soft-spoken, Thank you, Im so happyhappy with them too. Phil was simply amazing.
Immediately following the Awards Event, Phil Tessier and Thomas Keller happily posture for the cameras (Regina Varolli)
Talking to a gleeful Phil Tessier, his arms covered around his Silver Bocuse, I didnt ask him how he felt, I asked instead how the shiny statue felt in his hands. Laughing, he replied, Its heavy! As we talked it became clear that no one individual on this group was going to take any individual credit, and possibly thats why they made it up until now. Though the Silver Bocuse was his to take house and location someplace safe and popular, Chef Tessier might just say, You don’t get here alone, thats for sure. It was amazing to have the support of the Coach Foundation and Thomas and everybody that helped us along the way. And Skylar actually came through, Im really happypleased with him!
He had simply made history for the USA and Philip Tessier worked as humbled as he was delighted. To be right here, with everyone, he stated as he looked around, shaking his head at such an extraordinary variety of prominent chefs under one roof, is such an amazing experience. I couldnt be more proud. I saw the food coming out of the other cooking areas, really incredible food originating from the Scandinavian groups as always, so, to come through and take silver is truly an honor.
Philip Tessier seeks out at the bigcinema and sees the point differential in between USAs rating of 1,653 and Norways 1,662 points (Regina Varolli)
The silver was had by an extremely slim margin … We were only nine points behind Norway, said Grant Achatz, practically in shock. Nine. Nine. BelieveConsider that, only nine points off …
No doubt as the post-Bocuse speedy winds down and the people have rested up, Tessier and the team will certainly think a lot about those 9 points, maybe wanting to 2017, and the opportunity at gold glimmering in the distance, finally within reach.
Fish Plate: Brioche-crusted Brown Trout Pav, American Eggs, Tartelette of Crisped Skin, Garden Dill, Celery Branch Farci, Celery Root Pur e, Compressed Apples, Brown Butter Emulsion and Smoked Mushroom Consomm (Picture courtesy Sirha)
Barrel-Oak Roasted Guinea Hen
Sausage of Guinea Leg Confit, Sweet Corn Mousse, and Black Winter Truffle
Sweet Pea Garden
French Laundry Garden Blossoms Herbs, Sugar Snap Peas and Black Trumpet Mushroom Panade
Smoked Foie Gras Boudin, Napa Valley Honey, Pistachio Discomfort des Genes, Wild Fennel Buds and Topaz Wine Glaze
Black Truffle Consomm Ragout of Gizzard Heart Confit, Olive Oil Custard and Blooming Cress
White Corn Nest
Buttered Corn Pudding, Crisped Corn Silk and Petit Popcorn
Salad of Frisee and Garden Blossoms, Pickled Huckleberry and Foie Gras Jus
(Image courtesy Sirha)
Bocuse dOr Group U.S.A Meat Plate (Picture courtesy Sirha)