Team UK fails to win Bocuse d'Or 2017 final place

By Hannah Thompson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Team UK's platter. Credit: Jodi Hinds
Team UK's platter. Credit: Jodi Hinds

Related tags: Culinary art, Uk

Team UK has failed to win a place in the Bocuse d'Or finals in Lyon 2017 after chef Anthony Wright came 17th out of 20 contestants at this week's European heat.

The heat, which took place in Budapest, Hungary, saw Tamás Széll of Hungary take victory, with Christopher William Davidsen of Norway second, and Alexander Sjögren of Sweden third. Laurent Lemal of France won best meat dish; Viktor Örn Andrésson of Iceland took best fish; and Hampus Risberg of Sweden won best commis.

Only the top 11 contestants qualified for the finals, although there are two wildcards that may yet offer two last-minute places to the remaining teams.

Each team - consisting of a chef and their commis - was asked to prepare 14 portions of a meat dish of young red deer, split between a tray and four plates; along with 14 plates of a fish dish of Danube sterlet sturgeon with its caviar.

Wright, a senior lecturer at University College Birmingham (UCB) and chef at UCB's Atrium restaurant, was cooking alongside his commis Thomas Downes, final year culinary arts student. They faced a number of issues during the contest, including a misunderstanding over presenting the fish dish with a garnish on the side instead of on the plate, and suffering problems with their official timer.

It was both chefs' first time in the competition, and the first time Team UK has not qualified for the final since Adam Bennett took fourth overall place in the 2013 contest, and 10th at Lyon 2015.

The panel of 24 judges included Team UK president Brian Turner, and executive chef at Compass Group UK, Nick Vadis, who helped to coach chef Simon Hulstone in 2010 and 2011.

Wright was only announced as the Team UK finalist in December 2015, after former candidate Christian Grebenstein - who had been chosen via a selection process at London cookery school Le Cordon Bleu - was unable to take part in the heat.

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Team UK's meat dish plate. Credit: Jodi Hinds

Despite the result, UK president Turner said he was proud of the team's performance.

“Once again the standard of cooking and presentation excelled with the top scoring countries producing stunning entries. On their home ground in front of their own supporters, Hungary did all that was needed to pull off a fantastic win," he said. 

"Despite all the UK team’s best efforts we didn’t reach the level that we’d anticipated and along with great culinary nations like Spain and Italy we sadly didn’t reach the qualification places.

"We might have a fantastic dining scene in the UK but when it comes to support for the Bocuse d’Or we are found wanting. We now need to focus on re-grouping, learning from the experience and taking stock for how we can do things differently for Bocuse d’Or Europe 2018.”

The final is set to take place at the Sirha food and drink exhibition in Lyon in January 2017, as part of an intense series of cooking finals that will also feature the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie competition.  

Full list of finalists

⦁ Tamás Széll, Onyx*, Budapest HUNGARY
⦁ Christopher William Davidsen, Søstrene Karlsen, Trondheim NORWAY
⦁ Alexander Sjögren, Freelance SWEDEN
⦁ Laurent Lemal, Domaine Riberach*, Bélesta FRANCE
⦁ Viktor Örn Andrésson, Grillid / Radisson SAS, Reykjavik ICELAND
⦁ Eero Vottonen Restaurant Olo*, Helsinki FINLAND
⦁ Jan Smink, Librije***, Zwolle NETHERLANDS
⦁ Filipe Fonseca Pinheiro, Restaurant Hôtel de Ville***, Crissier SWITZERLAND
⦁ Peter Aesaert Belgocatering, Alost Crissier BELGIUM
⦁ Morten Falk, Kadeau*, Aakirkeby DENMARK
⦁ Dmitri Rooz, Restaurant Farm,Tallinn ESTONIA

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