Positioned in the Asia-Pacific Selection of Bocuse d’Or, New Zealand was required to participate in the Bocuse d’Or Asia-Pacific competition this year in the hopes of qualifying for the final in Lyon, France, during the Sirha trade show in January 2017. Nine countries took part over two days at FHA in Singapore. Each country’s team comprised of two chefs, one of which was a commis (under 23 years), a coach and a president who forms part of the tasting jury. New Zealand’s team included chef David Schofield and commis chef Nerys Wheelan, coach Mark Gregory and President John Kelleher.
The criteria were to plate ten identical fish dishes using toothfish and a meat platter with garnishes for eight portions and two portions plated using beef fillet and Foie gras. The meat platter is then portioned onto eight plates.
“Of course, we wanted to place within the top five and make it through to Lyon on our first try, but we did come back with a large deal of knowledge about what the judges are looking for and how to play the Bocuse game,” said David Schofield, Bocuse d’Or 2016 candidate.
“Participating in this years’ competition was an amazing experience for Team New Zealand and a part of the international Bocuse family.”
Schofield has competed previously both domestically and internationally but the Bocuse d’Or was an experience that he has said can’t be compared to anything at all and certainly nothing that is currently held in New Zealand.
“It was five and a half hours of intense scrutiny and constant movement and pressure like nothing else. When we finished both Nerys and I felt like we had been hit by a bus!”
For the second time, Japan took home first place, second going to Singapore and third to Australia. The other two teams that qualified for Lyon are China and South Korea.
“We have our fingers crossed until the two wild card entries into the final in Lyon are announced. We can’t afford to waste any time on the off chance that we miss out on the wildcard placing. Garnish design, platter design, practising, you name it and we’ll be doing it. Even if we do not get the wildcard, we will simply begin planning for national selection for 2017 so there is plenty for us to be getting on with."