The countdown for the USA Bocuse d’Or competition is coming to an end. On December 17, four chefs and their commis will face off in Las Vegas for the opportunity to partake in a grueling year-long practice schedule to prepare for the 2017 Bocuse d’Or held every two years in Lyon, France.
Meet ACF Chef Gerald Ford, CEC, executive sous at Westchester Country Club, Rye, New York, who has been preparing for this opportunity since 1999.
How does it feel to be chosen to compete for the USA team?
GF: It’s honestly an indescribable feeling. I’ve wanted to compete in the Bocuse d’Or since I first heard about the competition in 1999. I am unable to put into words my excitement for a chance to compete in 2017.
How will you prepare for the U.S competition in December?
GF: “Perfect practice makes perfect.” My commis Will Merget and I will be developing recipes, tasting recipes and holding practice runs until the moment we leave. I also used my mentors, industry professionals and members of ACF Culinary Team USA to help us develop and refine our program.
What are you some of your past experiences that will prepare you for this competition?
GF: In 2014, I competed in the regional ACF Chef of the Year competition and I have been competing in professional ice sculpting events for the last 15 years, as well as various hot-food competitions.
Why do you think culinary competitions are important?
GF: I think culinary competitions offer the opportunity to focus and refine dishes and components that you normally wouldn’t spend time doing in a restaurant or hotel environment. Also, I think that competition is a great way to prepare the next generation of cooks with refinement, high standards and high expectations.
Who were your mentors coming up in the industry and now?
GF: I have had the opportunity to have great mentors who have helped me in the past and are still helping me in regular fashion: Olivier Andreini, CMC, executive chef, Country Club of Landfall, Wilmington, North Carolina; Ken Arnone, CMC, Owner of KA-CMC Culinary Consultants, Poughkeepsie, New York; and Jerome Legras, executive sous chef, Meridien Beach Plaza, Monaco, France.
Tickets are available to the competition and can be found at ment’or BKB.
Up next: Next week, Angus McIntosh, CEC, another contender for USA Bocuse d’Or team will be featured.