Bocuse d'Or 2013: Fundraising auction raises more than £4k for Team UK

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chef, Culinary art

John Williams, executive chef at The Ritz, is shown the Bocuse d'Or 2013 training kitchen for the UK team by commis chef Kristian Curtis
John Williams, executive chef at The Ritz, is shown the Bocuse d'Or 2013 training kitchen for the UK team by commis chef Kristian Curtis
As Team UK enters the final stage of preparations for the 2013 world final of the Bocuse d'Or, a fundraising auction held at University College Birmingham last week raised more than £4k to support Adam Bennett.

The charity gala dinner, sponsored by Ruinart Champagne, took place in the university's Atrium restaurant on Friday. Just a couple of floors above the restaurant is the new professional training kitchen​ which Bennett and commis chef Kristian Curtis hope will give them an edge in next year's final.

Brian Turner, the president of Team UK, told diners they were helping to raise vital funds to cover the costs of preparing for the climax of the competition next January.

The team have today received details of the fish element they will have to cook in Lyon. In one of a number of rule changes introduced this time around,​ Bennett will have to prepare 14 plates of turbot Label Rouge and European blue lobster.

Well trained

Guests at the dinner last week were invited to bid on a number of exclusive auction lots including a tutored trip to the Ruinart Champagne house and a dinner with one course at The Ritz, one in Claridge's and a third in The Dorchester.

Ahead of the dinner of Foie Gras, salmon and caviar, Guinea Fowl and apricot clafoutis, Curtis showed BigHospitality and John Williams, executive chef at The Ritz, the training kitchen he has made his home alongside Bennett for the past four months.

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Kristian Curtis, commis chef for the UK Bocuse d'Or 2013 team, told BigHospitality he was now working with Bennett in the training kitchen six days a week

Williams told BigHospitality the kitchen gave the team a fantastic opportunity. "The whole idea is it is a replica - it is the same size, the same kind of equipment with the Combitherm and the same kind of induction hobs.

"A lot of people are so well briefed and so well trained and this is the first year we are going to be so well trained. This is literally fantastic - you could not wish for anything better. Times have changed - we have been involved with this competition but it has always been ad hoc until the last 4-6 years when it has got a lot more serious.

"This is the business," he added.

To fully prepare for Lyon, the fridges are even identical to the ones the team will use, the height of the workspace is the same and the equipment in the kitchen can be moved around to practise in a number of the different layouts they may eventually face. 

"We are doing six days a week with a few Sundays off. It is full on - we get here for 9:30AM and work straight through till 10 or 11PM," Curtis revealed.

£4.5k

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Salmon and foie gras were on the menu at the fundraising dinner - photography by Jodi Hinds, www.jodihinds.com

Turner, who recently called on everyone from the restaurant industry and beyond to reignite the Olympics spirit and get behind Bennett and Curtis,​ said the money raised would go towards travel expenses and food costs.

The £4.5k from the auction as well as proceeds from a raffle and the £1,200 charge for each table at the dinner will be used to help the team improve on the 13th place the country managed last time around.

"We are really extremely grateful," Turner said. "The standards rise significantly in the world final and we have to do everything possible to help Adam and Kristian raise their game. All this is really bringing PR to the tourism and gastronomic industries of the UK."

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