France wins the Bocuse d'Or 2013

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bocuse d'or, Chef

Adam Bennett's menu for the UK entry to the world final of the 2013 Bocuse d'Or included roast fillet of Irish beef, cooked over English oak - Photography by Jodi Hinds
Adam Bennett's menu for the UK entry to the world final of the 2013 Bocuse d'Or included roast fillet of Irish beef, cooked over English oak - Photography by Jodi Hinds
France has been declared the winner of the 2013 Bocuse d'Or with Denmark and Japan taking the second and third places respectively, while in fourth, the UK enjoyed the country's best ever performance in the competition.

The world final of the 14th bi-annual contest held in Lyon saw the French chefs take first place with the UK pairing of Adam Bennett and commis chef Kristian Curtis taking fourth place - just six points off Japan and a huge improvement on the 2011 result.

The team was already celebrating after Bennett and Curtis took the prize for the best meat dish. Curtis was also named as the best commis chef in the contest.

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The UK's Bocuse d'Or team for 2013 were Adam Bennett and Kristian Curtis - Photography by Jodi Hinds

Bennett, head chef at Simpson's in Birmingham, was given four months off by boss Andreas Antona to focus entirely on the competition, working in a specially built kitchen at the University College Birmingham (UCB).

Speaking to BigHospitality after the competition, the 46-year-old chef said: "I'm really happy that we have made progress as a country. It's great for you on a personal level but it's great for the team and the UK too. With this place we can ensure its even better next time.

Nick Vadis, the UK team coach, said: "I'm absolutely amazed. The result is down to a whole team of people we need to thank - UCB, Andreas and the sponsors - they are the people who helped us get our best ever place."

Changes

This year, finalists were surprised to find changes made to the competition; namely the introduction of a new fish contest, a new marking system to 'emphasise national diversity' and the introduction of a cooking jury, set up to award marks for hygiene, lack of wastage adherence to the fish dish rules.

On the eve of the contest, candidates were also given just 30 minutes to choose seasonal fruit and vegetables from a special market for two of their three garnishes.

Support

Support for Bennett came from all areas of the UK hospitality industry with sponsors, staff from UCB, Bennett's family and The England Supporters Band - best known for supporting the England football team - all travelling to Lyon for the competition. 

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Adam Bennett's Savoy cabbage & Wiltshire bacon with Hampshire truffle - Photography by Jodi Hinds

In all, 24 countries competed in the 2013 final having gone through three regional finals. The competition, which is only open to professional chefs aged 23 and above, has been won six times by France, four times by Norway. once by Luxembourg and once by Mathias Dahlgren for Sweden.

The last contest in 2011, which saw Simon Hulstone take 13th place for the UK​, was won by Rasmus Koefoed of Denmark.

Other previous UK candidates include Andre Garrett and Eyck Zimmer. 

Adam Bennett's Bocuse d'Or menu:

Fish - Tronçon of Label Rouge turbot with blue lobster and seaweed, Jellied eels, Scottish smoked salmon, caviar and cucumber ketchup with potato filled with creamed leeks and rolled in espinette butter and salad of pickled vegetables with mustard seed, apple and celery puree.

Meat - Roast fillet of Irish beef, cooked over English oak, mushroom and bone marrow farce, Hampshire truffles, braised oxtail & cheek with pickled walnuts & root vegetables, onion puree, “Boiled Beef & Carrots” - Scottish carrots filled with salt beef and mustard, potato cake with pickled mushrooms and red wine jus.

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