Day One was met with excitement as 12 representatives covering the two extremes of the continent - from Canada to Argentina - faced off in the kitchen, showcasing their extreme level of competence and discipline.
The prestigious contest is one of three continental selections where five of the best teams will be chosen to compete in the grande finale in Lyon, France in 2019.
On Day One Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina, set the mood. The remaining five teams will participate tomorrow. Contestants have 5 hours and 35 minutes to prepare:
- one plate combining whole salmon and crab meat in a creative fashion
-one platter featuring suckling pig and one or more of the following berries: blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry
The jury paid special attention to the ability to produce a perfect harmony between the flavors of the berries and the suckling pig while reflecting the culinary heritage of each of their countries.
Some contestants traveled with ingredients and others adopted spices related to their native countries. Uruguay is the only country on the American continent that has ossetra caviar and, naturally, it was on its plate.
Plate from Uruguay | photo: Alex Verá
Remembering Paul Bocuse
This is a particularly significant year since last January, its founder, the tireless Paul Bocuse, died at the age of ninety-one. For what his son Jérôme Bocuse commented for Fine Dining Lovers:
"First of all, if my father saw what we have lived today he would be very proud, he would be surprised how he has increased the level in South America. Today I saw a lot of technique and the Bocuse d'Or reflects what happens in the gastronomic world."
A Look At The Contestants
Also present at the Bocuse d'Or Americas edition was American Mathew Peters, winner of the 1st place in the final of 2017, who for this edition also served as president of the jury.
On this occasion USA competes for the first time with other countries of the continent, because previously they made an internal selection that gave them the direct pass to the final. Peters emphasizes, "This experience is an opportunity for extra training for our team, and I think it enriches the level of competence of the continent." But his turn won't be until tomorrow.
Emiliano Schobert from Argentina and his team, who have a big fan presence in the audience, settled in Mexico for three months to train intensely, and for now has left a pleasant impression.
Plate from Argentina | Photo: Alex Verá
Unlike the previous edition of this contest this occasion is monopolized by male participants. However, the role of the Canadian Jenna Reich, Laura Alejandra Puentes Osorio of Colombia from Chef Carlos Pajaro's team and Daniela Carbone of Argentina, supporting the teams from their countries, played a fundamental role.
Reich of pastry training, joined the team last September when they were looking for a chef in this specialty for the meticulous work that usually characterizes the subject. "It has been a great learning experience, we are an inclusive team in which each has had very defined roles but communication has been key to meet the times."
Brazil, the reigning champ of last edition of the Latin American semifinals, was represented by Luis Filipe De Azevedo e Souza.
With strong support from the guild as expressed by Thomas Troisgos from the organizing committee: "The Bocuse d'Or is very special not for only Brazil but the whole culinary world! Its a chance to show the industry what we are capable of, how we evolved as country in the culinary industry. "
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