We’re just back from an event at Daniel where it was announced that eight chefs will compete for the chance to represent America in the Bocuse d’Or contest — the culinary equivalent of the Olympics. The big news, at least for Top Chef fans, is this: Hung Huynh was chosen by an advisory board consisting of Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Dan Barber, Tom Colicchio, Jacques Pepin, Daniel Humm, Andre Soltner, and Laurent Tourondel. Who were the other seven (winnowed down from a list of 150 applicants) who will compete in the semifinals at Epcot Center on September 26 and 27, for a chance to be on the two-man American team?
Damon Wise, corporate chef at Craft, withdrew his name
Tim Hollingsworth, sous-chef at French Laundry
Rogers Powell, instructor at French Culinary Institute
Richard Rosendale of Rosendale’s in Westerville, Ohio; USA Culinary Olympic team captain
Michael Rotondo, chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter’s
Kevin Sbraga, culinary director of Garces Restaurant Group
Percy Whatley, Delaware North Parks exec chef
When we asked Huynh how he rose to such levels of prestige, he told us, “I applied!” So how does it feel? “This isn’t Top Chef,” he said. “This is hard-core. I want to compete — I want to win.” Then he paused and confessed, “I’m actually pretty nervous.” He should be — should he get a chance to advance to finals, he'll be up against thirteen teams from around the world, and he'll have only the training of Thomas Keller to help him!