Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lyon and The Bocuse D'Or

Arriving at the Giant Food Expo.

The Kitchens. Twelve Countries lined up to compete on Day 1, while the other twelve battled it out on Day 2.

Team Argentina.

Making Something Out of Sugar.

Kitchen Supplies Anyone? (At the Food Expo).

Pulling out all the stops. Go Canada!

Chef Ryan Stone's Poster.

Go Canada Go!

Can't remember what these were, but they sure do look pretty.

Chefs cooking up some tasty treats at the Food Expo.

Sipping Rhone Valley Wines at the Place des Vins.

Burgundy Wines at the Place des Vins.

Chef Ryan Stone and his Apprentice on the Big Screen.

The Swiss and their Horns. Notice the Giant Long Horn just above the Crowd.



Walking Around Lyon.

Nothing Like Colourful Flowers to Brighten up a Grey Day.

Le Bistrot de Lyon, Lyon.

Brasserie Leon de Lyon, Rue Pleney, Lyon.

Brasserie Leon de Lyon, Rue Pleney, Lyon.

Just Another Pretty Building.

Dinner at Le Muranie.

Fruit Chandelier inside Le Muranie.

A few days ago I met Dennis's mom, Lynda, in Lyon to cheer on Dennis's cousin, Ryan Stone, at the Bocuse d'Or competition. The Bocuse d'Or is said to be equivalent to the culinary olympics and is held in Lyon every two years. To reach the 2 day competition each chef must win a qualifying competition in their own country, and 24 winning countries make it to the final event. Each chef has 5 and a half hours to prepare one meat platter and one fish platter. The chefs received word last Febuary they would be cooking with saddle of lamb, which includes both sides of the loin with the backbones still attached, along with monkfish, Scottish brown crab and langoustine, which is similar to baby lobster.

Scandinavia stormed Lyon at the Bocuse d'Or. Paul Bocuse, chief of the old guard, pioneer of French Nouvelle Cuisine and now in his eighties, visibly flinched (of course this could have been humour), when he read the name of the winning country. Bronze to Gunnar Hvarnes of Norway, Silver to Tommy Myllymaki of Sweden and Gold to Kofoed Rasmus of Denmark. Ryan Stone and his apprentice finished 12th out of 24 countries, and they were disappointed. However, they did all this with very little funding, whilst cooking and acting as head chef at the West Coast Fishing Club on Langara Island in Haida Gwaii.

Lynda and I weren't the only Canadians cheering them on, most of Ryan's family and friends were also present, many of whom I had never met. They all came fully equipped: Canadian hockey jersey's with 'Stone' written on the back, blow-up red and white cheering batons (you bang them together and they make a terrible noise) and perhaps the most dreaded of all, the cow bell (and not just one or two, lots of them). I admired their spirit, but let me tell you it was certainly not my favourite thing in the world to hear on the bus on route to the competition site at 8:00am. Luckily one aunt was nice enough to pack along some Tylenol so I made sure to sit next to her.

The Canadians weren't the only one's who came armed and dangerous, each country had their own distinct obnoxious noise maker: the Swedes had air horns, the Danes had drums, and the Swiss had horns. Throw in 1200 hot sweaty stinky people screaming and banging away and this was enough to put me over the edge.

Luckily, I had one saving grace to rescue me from all the noise. The Bocuse d'Or was held in conjuction with the International Hotel and Catering Exhibition. So the chef competition was only a small part of a giant food and wine expo. I managed to escape for a few hours to check out The Place des Vins (the wine expo). The wines represented were from Burgundy, Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley. There were many producers present, each with their own little kiosk where you could chat and sample their wine. There was also a tasting room which had over 200 wines from the above mentioned areas, definitely a great place to escape to.