Norway has inspired numerous award-winning chefs and Bocuse d’Or winners, including Chef Ørjan Johannessen who won the 2015 Gold Medal. Chef Philip Tessier, 2015 Silver Medalist, recently joined Johannessen in Norway to help judge the Årets Kokk Norge (Chef of the Year), a national culinary competition and preliminary to the 2017 Bocuse d’Or.
“The Bocuse d’Or is huge here, its like the World Cup,” said Chef Philip Tessier.
Often referred to as the “culinary Olympics,” the Bocuse d’Or is among the most prestigious international cooking competitions, bringing together the top chefs from 24 countries to compete against one another in a five-hour, 35-minute cooking challenge. Held every two years in Lyon, France, the 2015 Bocuse d’Or marked the ninth year Norway has placed in the top three, and the first year the USA placed in the top three. Not only did Chef Philip Tessier’s talent and determination win him the Silver Medal at the 2015 competition, but it also brought the Bocuse d’Or to the forefront of the US culinary industry.
“When Paul Bocuse started the Bocuse d’Or many years ago, one of the main reasons he started it was to build community,” said Chef Philip Tessier. “For me, the reason I joined the Bocuse d’Or is you join a society and culture. It’s pretty exciting. It takes you beyond the borders of a restaurant. To be a winner, it takes a hunger.”
The Bocuse d’Or is considered the biggest culinary event in the world. Competing in the Bocuse d’Or is a badge of honor for chefs around the world, one that many have worked their entire lives to obtain. Winning is one of the highest awards a chef can earn in the culinary industry.
Many Norwegian chefs dream of the day they can compete at the Bocuse d’Or, spending their careers preparing for the Årets Kokk Norge. It is the day that determines their future. During the competition, chefs have six hours to cook, so timing is everything. Chefs push themselves to create their best dish to present to a panel of discerning judges.
Inspired by Norwegian history, Chef Christopher Davidsen won the 2015 Årets Kokk Norge and was named the 2017 Norwegian Bocuse d’Or competitor.
“I’ve been dreaming about this for ten years. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever won,” said Chef Davidsen. “I won! I did it!”
In anticipation for 2017, Chef Davidsen will spend the next year preparing for the big day, hoping to continue Norway’s winning legacy and follow in Johannessen’s place.