Inside The World’s Most Exclusive Cooking Contest

Celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller are on a mission. The pair are teaming up to find a chef to represent the United States at the Bocuse d’Or, a Lyonnais cooking contest widely regarded to be the world’s most exclusive. Over the past few weeks, the following email has found its way into the inboxes of hundreds of American chefs:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Twenty one years ago, Chef Paul Bocuse created the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France. As the most rigorous international culinary competition, the Bocuse d’Or provides a platform for talented young chefs to represent their countries on the world stage. Together with Thomas Keller, Jerome Bocuse and many of America’s best chefs, we have established a not-for-profit organization to recruit and train a USA team to compete at the Bocuse d’Or. Our goal is to promote a team on par with the culinary status this country has earned. With the generosity of our sponsors, including All-Clad/Krups, Diageo, Moet & Chandon, American Express, SYSCO, Acqua Panna/San Pellegrino, Avero, Chefwear, Crystal Cruises, and OpenTable, we hope to create a legacy of support that will extend beyond this year’s competition for many years to come.

Today we are launching our website,, and our appeal for candidates. In our efforts to attract competitors from across America we are sending applications to top restaurateurs, chefs, culinary educators and members of the media so that they will encourage the best young chefs in the country to apply.

I hope that you will help to spread the word about the competition. Applications are due by June 30. Potential candidates will need to begin working on their applications immediately.

The USA Committee for the Bocuse d’Or looks forward to seeing America win the international culinary recognition that it so rightly deserves. We are in search of the best USA team ever, and we know that our country’s talented young chefs are up to the challenge.

Best Regards,
Chef Daniel Boulud
Chairman of the Board
Bocuse d’Or USA

In case you’re wondering, the application [PDF] is quite rigorous. Qualifying candidates will be called to compete in the USA Bocuse d’Or Competition in Walt Disney World this September before going on to the contest in Lyon, France in January.

Bocuse d’Or [Official Site]

Inside The World’s Most Exclusive Cooking Contest