Bocuse d’Or Team Canada Wins Silver at Continental Semi-Finals

(L to R): Alex Chen, Joseph Mongillo, Keith Pears and John Placko (Bocuse d'Or Team Canada, Chefs Canada)

MONTREAL — Chefs Canada announced that the national culinary athletes to the Bocuse d’Or placed second at the continental competition in New Orleans last week and qualified for the 2025 finals that will take place in Lyon, France.

Chef Keith Pears and his team wowed the panel with dishes that included mandatory ingredients such as wild boar, alligator and shrimp, but also Canadian staples such as buckwheat, ice wine, rhubarb and beet. Though Canada took home silver, the culinarians tied with the U.S. winning team on the plate theme but won the taste buds of the international judges on the platter.

After an intensive five-and-a-half-hour culinary battle, the team carved a spot for Canada out of the eight participating countries, which include the U.S., Mexico, Argentina and Columbia. Pears and his teammates made a plateau themed around wild boar as well as a plate celebrating Cajun cooking featuring alligator, crab, shrimps and grits. The team was composed of coach John Placko, commis Joseph Mongillo, jury member Alex Cheng and assisted by a support team of more than 20 culinary professionals, including Sebastien Remillard (R&D), chef Dan Craig (Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto), and Alexander Manu (OCAD University).

“The Americas were the first step in making my dream come true,” says Pears. “The competition was fierce, and I’ve learned a lot in the process which will allow my team and I to adapt our training for Lyon. I promised to make my industry proud and give Canada the bragging rights it deserves on the world stage to attract foodie travellers, and I feel we accomplished that. I’m thankful to be supported by a passionate group of advisors from across the country as well as a dedicated crew.”

The team will now progress to the world final in Lyon, France in January 2025, alongside 23 other chefs.

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