Norwegian chef reigns supreme at “Olympics of cooking”

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 29th January 2009

Norwegian chef, Geir Skeie, has claimed the top prize at the biennial Bocuse d’Or – commonly referred to as the Olympics of cooking.

For more than twenty years the Bocuse d’Or has been staging the most beautiful gourmet creations in the world in the manner of a haute couture fashion show.

Working in contest kitchens set up facing the public, 24 chefs from all over the world took up the challenge to create two perfect dishes within 5 hrs 35 minutes. Similarly to the popular Japanese program ‘Iron Chef’, they had to achieve this feat as part of a grandiose show, using the official products of the Bocuse d’Or 2009: Aberdeen Angus Beef for the meat dish and Norwegian cod, king scallops and wild prawns for the fish dish.

Geir Skeie, a 28 year-old from Restaurant Mathuset Solvold, won the Bocuse d’Or trophy and €20,000 in prize money. Skeie is the fourth winner from Norway in the history of the event, ensuring the Scandinavian country closes the gap on the current leader, France, which has six wins. Other countries to have won previously are Sweden and Luxembourg.

“It’s the best meal I have ever cooked,” Skeie told to Norway’s NTB news agency. He had been training for the event for two years, with the win fulfilling a dream he had since first watching the event back in 1993, when he was just 13.

The ceremony for the presentation of the prizes took place on January 28th 2009 in the presence of nouvelle cuisine patriarch Paul Bocuse, President and founder of the event, and master chef Daniel Boulud, President of Honour of the 2009 edition. Jonas Lundgren from Sweden achieved second place, with French chef Philippe Mille of Hôtel Le Meurice in Paris, claiming third.

Australian representative, Luke Croston, finished a respectable 12th with the assistance of his Commis Chef Simon Consentino and official coach Philippe Mouchel. It was Croston’s third appearance at the Bocuse d’Or, having previously represented Australia at the last event in 2007, and in 2003, as George Calombaris’ commis. His finishing position tied that of his 2007 result, which remains Australia’s best ever finishing position in the prestigious event.

Complete results for the 2009 edition of the Bocuse d’Or (points awarded in brackets)
1 Norway (1020)
2 Sweden (994)
3 France (993)
4 Denmark (986)
5 Switzerland (922)
6 USA (911)
7 Iceland (891)
8 Japan (877)
9 Canada (870)
10 United Kingdom (864)
11 Finland (858)
12 Australia (849)
13 The Netherlands (837)
14 Czech Republic (813)
15 Estonia (812)
16 Luxembourg (804)
17 Mexico (762)
18 Singapore (762)
19 Malaysia (757)
20 Spain (749)
21 Brazil (698)
22 South Africa (682)
23 Uruguay (678)
24 South Korea (669)