The second round of the Bocuse d'Or Americas, which is sponsored by S.Pellegrino,ended with a great dose of excitement. The team from the United States took first place, Canada came in second, and third place went to Argentina.
It was a hotly contested battle against eight other countries: Chile, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico. The winning teams will compete in the grande finale in Lyon, France in 2019.
Remembering Paul Bocuse
The final ceremony began with a video tribute to the life of the legendary Paul Bocuse, who died last January and whose legacy remains alive through this prestigious competition.
His son Jérôme Bocusetold Fine Dining Lovers his father "would be very proud, he would be surprised how he has increased the level [of gastronomy] in South America."
Jerome Bocuse | photo: Alex Verá
Prior to the delivery of the first three places the judges granted different recognitions:
Best first-time plate presentation: Mexican Francisco Palacios Conde
Best tray presentation: Brazilian Luis Filipe de Azevedo e Souza "We've created our platter based on Parica wood. It is a sustainable wood from Amazonia and It recreates a traditional Brazilian landscape."
Best commis: Manuela Carbone, born in Argentina in 1996 and who has her own Sushi Seiba gastronomic project. She joined the team of chef Emiliano Schobert, and together they achieved great level with precision, harmony and flavor in their dishes. The commis is a fundamental character in the pair that forms with the chef, and this time in the first three places highlights the presence of three female chefs.
The Bocuse d'Or Americas selected Chile and Brazil as invited countries to compete in the final.
Team USA | photo: Alex Verá
The United States, with a large team on floor and Thomas Keller as a mentor, showed a great display of support team professionals supervising every detail of Matthew Kirkley's work.
Kirkley presented a modern version of the Chilean salmon with classic garnishes, an American-style crab cake, asparagus, and caviar cultivated in California. A dish that impressed the judges and earned him the top spot.
Plate from USA | photo: Alex Verá
For the second challenge, Kirkley and his team crafted a modern presentation of suckling pig showing three different preparations including an American style ham, a classic roulade and a testa cake made with the head and trotters. The garnishes showcased light seasonal spring ingredientes including tiny radishes.
Contestants had 5 hours and 35 minutes to prepare:
one plate combining whole salmon and crab meat
one platter featuring suckling pig and one or more of the following berries: blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry.
plate from Canada | photo: Alex Verà
Chef Trevor Ritchie and his team served a beautiful platter of suckling pig with dates and Canadian walnuts, roast belly presse with boudin noir and cranberry chutney, braised salsify with violet and frisée, morel cream with trumpet farce and brioche.
Also on a the platter was a Quebec foie gras tartelette with McIntosh apple and berry maple leaves and Neige Ice cider jus. Ritchie paid a brilliant homage to the food of his native land.
seafood plate from Canada | photo: Alex Verà
Ritchie's second dish featured a cured salmon filet with pristine canola and horseradish, lump crab croquette with wild rice and rémoulade, pickled radish with spring blossoms and jicama “clam” with Yukon gold potato and Acadian Caviar.
plate from Argentina | photo: Alex Verá
Chef Emiliano Schobert and his team prepared a platter of roasted suckling pig with apple, pistachios and morels, and truffled tartalllete of Balcare potato.
For the seafood plate the chef prepared a typical recipe from Patagonia: lightly smoked salmon with fennel cream, vegetable pearls, marble crab, a rutabaga egg, and a citrus salmon roulade.
seafood plate from Argentina | photo: Alex Verá
In this region the day begins with the aromas of citures, wild life and nature: "Our dish is a homage to this experience in addition of the ancestral technique of smoked salmon and the perfect balance of rutabaga, fennel and pickled itiems representes the perfect note for this beautiful symphony."
Plate from Chile | Photo: Alex Verá
The Chilean team was headed by chef Mauricio Nuñez. His recipes were inspired by the use of indigenous foods from the north to the south of the country, with ingredients that help to enhance the flavor of Pacific salmon.
Chile's platter featured smoked sausage with roasted suckling pig, gastric cranberries with endemic algae. The country has shown a high level of consistency with respect to its gastronomy, which is increasingly appreciated on the continent and in this prestigious competition.
Next up was the Dominican Republic, a country that debuted as a participant, with chef Omar Brito Ortiz. In fact, this year Santo Domingo was called the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean.
Brito said that the fact of presenting in the contest, already in itself is a great experience, leaves both him and his team with a pleasant satisfaction and motivation.
Several of the participants in both the first round and this second day used the technique of smoking, in this case he used tobacco leaves to smoke eggplant in a nod to his country, as well as the use of plantain as an endemic ingredient that it is the basis of food and the economy of the tropical countries of the region.
plate from Mexico | photo: Alex Verá
Mexican participant Francisco Palacios Conde enjoyed the level of the competition and expressed satisfaction with his dish: "The presentation was beautiful, but I trusted a lot in the flavors that we brought."
Palacios used native ingredients such as Chiltepin chile oil to dress the garnish of the Chilean salmon.
Costa Rica, another of the kitchens practically unknown in the continent, but a country known for its splendid nature once again participated, represented on this occasion by David Wang Zamora, who humbly acknowledged that they still have much to improve.
Wang made use of traditional ingredients such as pejibaque (the red fruit of the palm), palm hearts roasted with cheese and edible flowers.
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