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Five Alumni are Semifinalists for the 2010 Bocuse d'Or USA Competition

(PRESS RELEASE) New York City: The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation announced today the 12 semifinalist chef teams who will compete in the upcoming U.S. domestic competition, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y. These chef teams are competing for the honor of representing the United States in the prestigious 2011 Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition, which will be held in Lyon, France, Jan. 25-26, 2011. Established in 1987 by Chef Paul Bocuse, the Bocuse d’Or is the pre-eminent international culinary competition in which teams of one chef and one commis (assistant) from twenty-four countries compete for top honors and international acclaim. The domestic competition held at the CIA will be free and open to the public, and supporters are encouraged to attend. The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, a nonprofit organization, will also hold a Gala event on the evening of February 6th at the Culinary Institute of America, with proceeds from ticket sales to support The Foundation’s efforts.

Committed to inspiring culinary excellence among young culinary professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of classic cuisine in America, The Foundation sought qualified chef applicants who will successfully represent the United States at the global competition and who will remain lifelong ambassadors of gastronomic excellence. These 12 semifinalists were selected from a pool of applicants by The Foundation’s Board of Directors, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse. This year’s semifinalists are:

1. Luke Bergman, The Modern, New York, NY
2. Danny Cerqueda, Carolina Country Club, Raleigh, NC
3. Michael Clauss, Daily Planet , Burlington, VT
4. Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill, Atlanta, GA
5. James Kent, Eleven Madison Park, New York, NY
6. Mark Liberman, Roxy’s Black Sheep, West Palm Beach, FL
7. Christopher Parsons, Catch, Winchester, MA
8. Jennifer Petrusky, Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago, IL
9. John Rellah, New York Yacht Club, New York, NY
10. Jeremie Tomczak, French Culinary Institute, New York, NY
11. Andrew Weiss, The Chef’s Workshop, Las Vegas, NV
12. Percy Whatley, The Ahwahnee, Yosemite, CA

To be eligible, Chef Applicants must be American citizens and 23 years of age or older at the time of the final competition in Lyon on January 25, 2011. They must also have had at least three years of experience in a fine dining establishment.

The Commis Applicants must be American citizens and 22 years of age or younger at the time of the final competition in Lyon.

In addition, hopefuls were required to complete an exhaustive application process which included an essay detailing their desire to represent the U.S.A. in the prestigious international competition, two letters of recommendation from chefs and/or restaurateurs, a letter of intent from a culinary sponsor and a current dinner menu from the restaurant at which the Chef Applicant is currently employed. These 12 semifinalists were selected for their outstanding motivation, commitment to the culinary arts, demonstrated organization and high profile references supporting their candidacy.

“Along with my colleagues Chefs Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse, we are excited in supporting these young culinarians in realizing their goal of being on the podium in Lyon in 2011,” said Chef Thomas Keller, President of The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. “I commend the next generation of courageous young chefs for their desire to compete and represent the United States in the Bocuse d'Or competition -- there is much to be proud about our culinary heritage. I also look forward to working with them in their initial preparation for the U.S. Finals in Hyde Park this February.”

The domestic competition will take place on Saturday, February 6th, during which the 12 teams will require incredible focus, stamina and skill to prepare two protein platters, one featuring salmon and the other featuring lamb, each accompanied by five elaborate garnishes in just five-and-a-half hours. A panel of esteemed culinary judges chosen from among The Foundation’s Culinary Council – which includes esteemed chefs such as Grant Achatz, David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Traci des Jardins, Daniel Humm, Georges Perrier, Eric Ripert, Alain Sailhac, Laurent Tourondel, Norman Van Aken, Alan Wong, Eric Ziebold, and many more – will judge teams’ platters based on excellence in taste, presentation, technical skill and overall kitchen organization. The judges will determine the winning team, which will represent the U.S.A. at the 2011 Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition. The domestic competition prizes include an award for each competing team and a trophy and cash prize for the top three final competition teams: 1st prize: $5,000; 2nd prize: $4,000; 3rd prize: $3,000.

The Foundation provides Team USA with a customized, year-long training program crafted and supervised by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Culinary Council. In addition, all direct expenses associated with participation in the international competition are provided by the Foundation, including round-trip air travel to Lyon, meals and accommodations for 15 days in France, registration fees, on-site acclimation training, competition ingredients and presentation platters.

For more information on the upcoming competition or The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, please visit www.bocusedorusa.org

The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation
Established in 2009, The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation is a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) culinary organization devoted to inspiring culinary excellence within young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of classic cuisine in America. The Foundation is lead by a Board of Directors comprised of Chef Daniel Boulud, Chef Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse. Under their direction, the Foundation aims to build a community of knowledgeable young American chefs who are confident in their career pursuits and who will be lifelong ambassadors of gastronomic excellence. The Foundation is dedicated to making the careers of serious young chefs more meaningful and successful by offering them educational scholarships, internships and access to a Culinary Council of established professionals. The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation helps support the country’s most promising young professionals who are interested in competing and representing the U.S. in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition held in Lyon, France, every two years.

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