TORONTO — The Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) has announced this year’s Bocuse d’Or team alongside its fresh vision of Bocuse d’Or Canada.
Under the trained eye of coach Jean-Pierre Challet, Trevor Ritchie was selected as this year’s front-runner. Assisted by his commis, Jenna Reich, Ritchie — who’s worked in some of the country’s best kitchens, including Langdon Hall, Queen’s Landing and La Société — will be headed to Lyon, France in January 2019 (pending the team makes the classifiers in Mexico City this April).
As the World Cup of cookery talents, the biennial event is the most prestigious culinary competition in the world. Only the best chefs get a coveted “golden ticket” to represent their countries in a battle against 23 other contenders. It is not only a unique chance to showcase techniques and food mastery, but also an opportunity to shine the spotlight on local flavours by incorporating them into the competition’s dishes, which will be seen and tasted by the cream-of-the-crop on the world stage.
Equipped with a long-term vision, the new management team recently enlisted mentors and advisors to prepare, train and ensure sharing of the knowledge required to get Canada on the podium. These include past Bocuse d’Or participants such as James Olberg (2017) and John Placko (1989), and noteworthy chefs such as Mark McEwan (McEwan Group), Jason Bangerter (Langdon Hall), John Higgins (George Brown College) and Marc Lépine (L’Atelier).
“Le Bocuse d’Or is the most prestigious and the most difficult global cooking competition,” says Challet. “No Canadian chef has ever brought home the gold and we have only made the top-five twice since 1987 — not because of a lack of talent in the mastery of French cuisine, but because of a lack of continuity. We feel strongly that we will make the top-three in Mexico and that the team will get a chance to demonstrate the best Canada has to offer, not only in talent but with a myriad Canadian flavours and products.”
Chef Lépine will be hosting a fundraising dinner at Atelier on Dec. 4 in support of Team Canada. Tickets are $100 and include a six-course dinner.