This year has been a momentous one for the Olympics — not just in sports, but in the culinary arena as well. The Bocuse d'Or — considered the Olympics of food and the world's most prestigious award for French cuisine — is scheduled for Jan. 28 and 29, 2009 in Lyon, France. The rigorous selection process, however, gained plenty of attention in 2008.
It all began this Summer, when we caught up with Hung Huynh at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, and the Top Chef Season 3 winner revealed his wish to be a semifinalist — which he was. In July, the American Bocuse d'Or advisory board, which includes Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Tom Colicchio, selected eight semifinalists to compete for the coveted chance to represent the US. The judges appointed were even more prestigious, with highly respected chefs such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten involved in choosing a winner. On September 26 and 27, the semifinalists faced off in a culinary challenge hosted by Al Roker, Food and Wine editor Dana Cowin, and John Besh at the Epcot Center.
After two full days of competition, Timothy Hollingsworth, a sous chef at The French Laundry, was selected as the US representative. Currently, Hollingsworth is training directly under Keller as he prepares to represent America in next month's championships, where Paul Bocuse, the French founder of the competition, will be on hand to observe and officiate. No American chef has ever won the final competition and the closest one has come to seeing gold was sixth place in 2003. Could Hollingsworth be the first?