France's Thibaut Ruggeri took home the first place prize, the Bocuse d'Or.
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France Triumphs Twice in Lyon

Stephanie Curtis / February 11th, 2013

Lyon, France–It is the equivalent of an Olympic gold medal, for a competition requiring as much concentration, training, and stamina as that of an athletic champion, plus a good measure of creativity. This year’s Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most prestigious culinary trophy, was won by 32 year old French chef Thibaut Ruggeri on January 30. The competition was the highlight of the prestigious Sirha restaurant show, held every two years here in the city considered by many to be the capital of French gastronomy. A silver statuette for second place went to Denmark’s Jeppe Foldager, followed by the bronze trophy for Japan’s Noriyuki Hamada in third place.

After five and a half hours of fast-forward preparation and cooking in a long row of 12 “boxes” in front of a gallery of over 2,000 fervent, cheering, and horn-blowing supporters sporting their local colors, each of the 24 competitors presented two elaborate creations, a fish course using turbot and a meat dish with Irish beef, to a jury of 27 (12 for meat, 12 for fish, and 3 présidents who taste but do not give notes) renowned international chefs.

Ruggeri’s meat creation was a contemporary interpretation of a French classic, beef Rossini, accompanied by a multitude of intricate and artistic garnishes, including a truffle soup under a puff pastry dome, a reference to the competition’s founder, Paul Bocuse, creator of a similar domed soup in 1975 for a presidential dinner at the Elysées Palace.

The United Kingdom’s Adam Bennett placed fourth, just six points behind Japan, and the United States hope, Richard Rosendale, executive chef of The Greenbrier, coached by Thomas Keller and Gavin Kaysen, placed seventh.

The Bocuse d’Or (literally the golden Bocuse) was created in 1987 by Bocuse, doyen among French chefs at 87 years old, one of the initiators of la nouvelle cuisine, and owner of the restaurant north of Lyon that bears his name and has held three Michelin stars since 1965.

Two days earlier, France had confirmed its prowess in the field of pastry, winning the 13th edition of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, the equivalent of the Bocuse d’Or for pastry, created in 1989 and also held every two years during the Sirha restaurant show.