On 27 and 28 January 2009 the SIRHA gastronomic trade fair was held in Lyon, France. Not only was Estonian food promoted at the event with chocolate truffles, liqueur and cheese, but an international contest for chefs was also held which saw the country represented by Egoist’s head chef Vladislav Djatšuk. Djatšuk came in 15th out of 24 in the competition. First place was won by Geir Skeie from Norway, while the runners-up were chefs from Sweden and France.
“I really am very pleased that Estonia made a name for itself on the world’s culinary map at the event, and did it in such a stylish way,” said Dmitri Demjanov, president of Bocuse d’Or Estonia. “Estonian cuisine is being talked about by people in these circles, and in a very favourable light. This can only have a positive influence on the development of our local cuisine, and through it on tourism and on our everyday eating habits. The fact that some of the more ‘traditional’ food countries like Italy and Belgium failed to make the final is a sign of how fierce the competition was. We learnt a lot.”
During the five-and-a-half hour final the chefs had to prepare two dishes using specific ingredients, those being different cuts of beef and then Norwegian seafood.
Taking place every two years, the final of Bocuse d’Or in Lyon is preceded by regional qualification in the Bocuse d’Or Europe. Held in Stavanger in Norway in July 2008, this round saw Djatšuk finish 7th and thus reach the final.
24 countries competed in the final; those from Europe are Norway, Denmark, Sweden, France, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Estonia – the latter two of which are the first of the new EU member states to reach the final.
The history of the Bocuse d’Or dates back to 1983, when the Salon Métiers de Bouche competition was held as part of the SIRHA international food fair in Lyon. The first official Bocuse d’Or was held in 1987, bringing together the brightest young stars of the culinary world to be judged by leading gastronomists.
The fair is financed through the EU’s Structural Funds.
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