Culinary all-stars are at it this Sunday and you can be there.  VIP style.

By Francine Cohen

The battle for USA’s world domination in the 2013 Bocuse d’Or competition begins at home this Sunday as four highly qualified contestants pit their skills against one another in the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation’s USA Finals Competition.  The winner will be attending the big dance in Lyon, France next January and representing the USA.

“This weekend is about selecting the very best American chef to represent the USA on the international stage. It should be a matter of great pride to our entire American culinary community,” said Chef Daniel Boulud.

The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring culinary excellence, led by Chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller,Jerome Bocuse,opens the finals to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

But, as always, INSIDE F&B has a special inside track for you. Courtesy of Nespresso, a 2012 Member Sponsor of the Bocuse d’Or USA, two tickets in the comfortable VIP section are available for the first person to correctly tell us the number of grand crus offered by Nespresso to their fine dining and hotel customers.(For a clue take a look at

As business tool for the culinary world Nespresso is thrilled to get behind this competition that demands the same exacting standards as their regular customers.  Jim Frisby of Nespresso Business Solutions notes, “Nespresso offers a range of Grand Crus from Ristretto, to Espresso to Lungo to Decaffeinato, all of which are delivered via a portioned system ensuring cost control, no waste and no clean up.  We’re provide our expertise with state of the art, stylish reliable equipment and deliver premium quality espresso coffee to satisfy the most discerning of palates.”

There are going to be quite a few discerning palates judging Sunday’s competition which starts at 8:00 a.m. and runs until 2:45 at The CIA (  Expect to see Grant Achatz, Scott Boswell, William Bradley, Michael Cimarusti, Shaun Hergatt, Gabriel Kreuther, Barbara Lynch, George Mendes, Roland Passot,Michael White and Alan Wong at the judges’ table.

They’ll be keeping a keen eye on the four finalists (Bill Bradley Chef Instructor, Le Cordon Bleu, Cambridge, MA; Danny Cerqueda, Executive Sous Chef, Carolina Country Club, Raleigh, NC; Jeffrey Lizotte,Chef de Cuisine, ON2O, Hartford, CT; and Richard Rosendale,Executive Chef, The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV) who will have five-and-a-half hours to prepare two protein platters – one cod, one chicken – along with three intricate garnishes.:

The competition will decide the USA representative at the international Bocuse d’Or, which will take place at the SIRHA International Hotel, Catering and Food Trade Exhibition in Lyon on January 29, 2013, one year to the day from the USA Finals. The Bocuse d’Or, named after legendary French Chef Paul Bocuse, is a biennial international culinary competition that seeks to identify the world’s top competitive chef. First held in 1987, the 2013 Bocuse d’Or will feature representatives from 24 countries.

On Monday, January 30, 2012, the day after the competition, The Bocuse d’Or USA winner and the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation Board of Directors will address the media at an 11:30 AM EST press conference at the Sofitel in New York City and then The Bocuse d’Or USA winner will then begin an intensive, year-long training regimen to prepare for the January 29, 2013 competition in Lyon. The training will be overseen by the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation’s Board of Directors and Team USA coaches:Chef Gavin Kaysen, Chef Grant Achatz, and Chef Gabriel Kreuther. Chef Kaysen represented the USA at the 2007 competition and was an assistant coach in 2009 and 2011.
As if that wasn’t enough….

The first ever Bocuse d’Or USA Commis Competition is being held on January 28, 2012

The CIA will also host the first ever Commis Competition on Saturday, January 28, 2012. As part of this competition, four talented young chefs will each prepare their interpretation of the classic Paul Bocuse dish, Poulet au Vinaigre. This new event aims to identify the country’s next rising star in the field of competitive cooking. While the winner of the Commis Competition will not participate in the 2013 Bocuse d’Or (the USA representative chooses his own commis to assist him), the hope is that the winning chef will gain experience to one day represent the USA at the Bocuse d’Or.

Chef Boulud concludes, “The first-place prize is a three month professional apprenticeship at a three-Michelin-star restaurant in France. The prize really underlines the Foundation’s goal of providing continuing education. It’s what I’m most proud of in the Foundation’s progress.”


Sonny Longboy Acosta, Jr., Cook III, Alan Wong’s, Honolulu, HI

Tristan Aitchison, Sous Chef, Providence, Los Angeles, CA

Samuel Benson, Sous Chef, Café Boulud, New York, NY

Rose Weiss, Culinary Extern, Gramercy Tavern, New York, NY

The Commis Competition will be judged by chefs: Grant Achatz, Chris Hastings, Gabriel Kreuther, Alex Lee, Barbara Lynch, and Brad Barnes, CMC, Senior Director of Culinary Education at the CIA.

The weekend festivities at the CIA will also include public book signings by top toques: Grant Achatz, Daniel Boulud, Chris Hastings, Daniel Humm, Thomas Keller, and Barbara Lynch.

Established in 2009, the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) devoted to Inspiring Culinary Excellence in young professionals as well as preserving the traditions and quality of classic cuisine in America.  The Foundation – led by a Board of Directors comprised of renowned chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse – aims to build a community of young American chefs who are confident in their career pursuits and will be life-long ambassadors of gastronomic excellence.  The organization offers educational scholarships, internships, access to a Culinary Council of established professionals and support for the most promising young professionals who are interested in representing the U.S. in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition held in Lyon, France every two years.  For more information, visit