Team USA chefs visit Menlo Park before competing in Bocuse d'Or


The team set to represent the U.S. at the international cooking competition, the Bocuse d'Or, later this month will be visiting Menlo Park for a ticketed reception at the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel on Jan. 8.

The Bocuse d'Or, to be held in Lyon, France, on Jan. 29 and 30, is described as the "most prestigious culinary competition for young talented chefs worldwide" on its website. Others have called it the "Olympics of cooking."

The hotel will host the duo chosen to represent Team USA at the competition: chef Matthew Kirkley and junior chef Mimi Chen, also known as a commis. Philip Tessier, the 2015 silver-star winner and the first American chef to place in the competition, will also be part of the mix. In 2017, he coached the U.S. team to its first gold-star victory, according to his website.

During the reception, several Bay Area chefs will offer a range of small bites "that celebrate the diverse culinary landscape of the surrounding area," according to a press release. Executive Chef Reylon Agustin of Madera, which is located in the Rosewood Sand Hill, will also create a selection of dishes featuring locally sourced cuisine.

In an interview published by Ment'or, a nonprofit that supports Team USA and other professional opportunities for chefs, Kirkley said: "At the Bocuse d’Or you are cooking for other chefs, your peers and betters in your profession. It’s tougher to impress or surprise them, as they share the same professional insight as you. It is also just yourself and an apprentice using your own hands to produce the final result." He was an assistant coach in the 2017 competition.

Chen, who assisted Team USA in the 2017 competition, said in a Ment'or interview, "It was an honor and such an amazing experience to be a part of the team, and when they won gold for the first time it was such a special and surreal moment that it made me want to participate in the Bocuse d’Or also."

The competition, which takes place every two years, was created by celebrity chef Paul Bocuse in 1987. Twenty-four countries compete with one chef and one "commis" or assistant. Each team gets five and a half hours to make two dishes, one seafood and one meat, each with three original garnishes, and each of which is judged by 12 people, one person from each country in the competition.

Tickets to the Menlo Park event are $175 and can be purchased here. Proceeds will benefit Ment'or, a nonprofit that supports young chefs with grants, competition opportunities and training programs.


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