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At 35 years of age Matthew Kirkley is the winner of the Bocuse d'Or Americas edition. The talented chef and his team will represent the United States in the finals in Lyon in 2019, an honor that has catapulted him to instant fame.
Getting To Know Chef Kirkley
A native of the coastal city of Baltimore in the northeastern United States, he developed a special relationship with seafood. He spent his childhood fishing in the Chesapeake Bay with his father which, undoubtedly, enriched his talent culinary.
He began his studies at the Culinary Institute of America at age 18, and during his career has worked in various restaurants and the hotel industry.
In 2006, he traveled to Europe to stage in the Fat Duck and Le Gavroche in the United Kingdom and Le Meurice in Paris, among other restaurants. Upon his return he joined the Joël Rebouchon restaurant in Las Vegas, and from there he has been building a success story that has earned him the highest award of the Michelin guide in the two restaurants he has directed: (two stars) in L2o in Chicago and (three stars) in COI of San Francisco.
Kirkley's Big Win
Mattew Kirkley and commis Mimi Chen did an excellent job under the tutelage of coach Robert Sulatycky and mentor Thomas Keller.
Team USA 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.
Fine Dining Lovers caught up with the talented chef after his big win:
Do you feel a commitment or additional pressure, now that the United States has won the Bocuse d'OR? Finally, it is a great achievement after 30 years: 90 places, and only four non-European countries have achieved a place on the podium.
While we hope to continue to achieve success for our country, our first goal is to represent our country honorably. We will do this by putting forward our best efforts, and we hope that this will bring us continued success.
In the kitchen, as in soccer, the United States has endeavored to create a structure and work plan to develop talent. Is it a matter of competitive culture? We hope to build a continued winning structure, which very much comes from the people that support our core team. Ment'or has done a tremendous job of cultivating a great team that we hope will mean continued success for our team.
The three winners United States, Canada and Argentina, were supported by female commiss. Can you tell us about the particular synergy you achieved with Mimi Chen?
Mimi and I have always worked well together. She is a strong dedicated young cook. I genuinely enjoy working with her, and I look forward to watching her continue to grow.
About the Bocuse d'Or
In a competition dominated by European countries, especially by the Scandinavians, the medals obtained by the American team should be considered as a pride for the American continent.
The United States, has been represented in the competition since 1987, it took 20 years to achieve the title, but this is not a coincidence. In 2008 the master Paul Bocuse, founder of the contest entrusted chef Daniel Boulud -of French origin and adopted son of New York- to create a structure to develop talent and achieve competitive level.
So with the support of Thomas Keller and Jérôme Bocuse, on the Board of Directors, the non-profit foundation Ment'Or was created, which since 2008 has recruited an outstanding group of American chefs for their training.
Fine Dining Lovers spoke with Chef Daniel Boulud, chairman board of directors of the foundation, who commented: "It is not a question of sponsors, because that support can be achieved. It's a question of organization and discipline, of building a long-term project. "