The UK has competed in 15 world finals of the Bocuse d’Or, founded in 1987, but has, as yet, to make it into the top three of the biannual competition – an issue which has been attributed to lack of funding compared with top-performing nations.
Top chefs will go all out to raise funds at a special dinner at chef Simon Rogan’s Roganic restaurant in Marylebone, London on 18 March to help the UK raise its game at the next final in Lyon in 2021.
The fundraising effort comes after the UK finished 10th in the world at last month’s Bocuse d’Or final in Lyon, where Denmark once again took first place, followed by Sweden, second and Norway third.
Top chefs will join Rogan in preparing a six-course dinner at Roganic for £200 per diner, including wine pairings and non-alcoholic drinks.
They will include Adam Byatt, Saturday Kitchen regular and chef-owner of the Michelin-starred Trinity, Alyn Williams of Alyn Williams at The Westbury; Jonny Lake – who left his position as head chef at The Fat Duck, Bray, in 2018 to start his own project; John Williams, executive chef of The Ritz London and Tom Phillips, head chef at Restaurant Story and this year’s Bocuse d’Or candidate.
Each will cook a specially created dish for the feast. Guests will also have the opportunity to bid for a range of exclusive prizes.
Rogan, who became Bocuse d'Or UK president last year, says: “As with any national team, we can’t compete successfully without sufficient funding and this has been proven by the previous winning teams.
“We have an incredible culinary scene in the UK with some of the world’s best craftsman in our kitchens. This dinner is not only an opportunity to showcase British talent but to help raise enough money to allow us to show the rest of the world too.”
Andreas Antona, chairman of the UK Academy, says the “vast majority” of the reason for the UK’s past performances had been lack of funding.
“It’s about setting the scene right and a lot of scenes take a lot of money.”
When he got involved, he said he wanted to prove a point along those lines and he allowed Adam Bennett, whom he employed as a sous chef at Simpsons, six months off work to be paid by Antona to partake in the Bocuse d’Or 2013.
“He came fourth and that was the highest ever entry,” said Antona. “It was all about resource and I put my money where my mouth was.”
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