Pressure mounts as Bocuse d'Or 2013 final moves closer

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bocuse d'or, Chef, Paul bocuse

Adam Bennett will compete in the final of the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon at the end of the month
Adam Bennett will compete in the final of the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon at the end of the month
Pressure is mounting on the UK's Bocuse d'Or candidate Adam Bennett to lead the country to success as the date approaches for the final of the international competition. 

Bennett, head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Simpsons in Edgbaston, Birmingham, will compete in the final on 30 January in Lyon, France, after France's Thibaut Riggeri and prior to Team USA's Richard Rosendale for his chance to win the prestigious contest. 

The 44-year-old chef has spent the last four months focusing solely on the competition in a specially-built kitchen at University College, Birmingham, which resembles the one he will have in Lyon.

It is the first time a UK candidate has been given time off from their job to focus on the competition and it is hoped the move will improve the UK's chances of winning. 

Support

In an interview with Restaurant magazine​ for its January issue, out tomorrow, Bennett said he had been lucky to have had the support of his boss, Simpson's owner Andreas Antona. 

"Andreas has been brilliant in giving me time off from Simpsons to work on it full-time. It's what the successful countries have been doing for years, but we've never had the opportunity. Last time Simon [Hulstone] did it while running his own restaurant - how he managed it, I don't know," he said.  

Bennett, who was selected to represent the UK following an intense cook-off​ in London in September 2011, took sixth place in the European final in March​ and is hoping to make his mark at the international final where he will be up against chefs from 23 countries.

To compete in the final all chefs must produce and present a fish dish on a white plate and a meat dish on a silver flat, each with three garnishes - two of which come from a mystery basket which are only revealed a day before the competition starts.

Bennett said: “We had a great result in Brussels with the meat prize and sixth place and whilst I’m happy with my dishes we cannot underestimate the candidates from countries which have experienced winning. The rules have been changed for 2013 which should level out the playing field but this also means that we are even less certain of what the judges will be looking for. Whatever the result, taking part in the Bocuse d’Or has been a fantastic experience and I’d recommend it to any chef who enjoys competitions.”  

Bennett follows chefs Simon Hulstone, Eyck Zimmer, Andre Garrett and John Williams in taking part in the competition, which was founded by French chef Paul Bocuse. He will be supported by his commis chef Kristian Curtis for the competition. 

BigHospitality will be reporting live from Lyon for the Bocuse d'Or final. Follow us via the website, our Facebook page and Twitter feed for the latest from the event.​ 

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