Rogers Powell, an instructor at the French Culinary Institute, is one of the of the semifinalists selected by Bocuse d’Or USA to compete for the right to represent the United States in the world’s most important cooking contest. But who is this mystery man? And what does he have up his white chef’s sleeve? We headed over to FCI to see what we could get out of the tight-lipped cooking instructor.
How did you end up as a contestant?
The school approached me, and right away I said yes. Of course! I had no idea I was selected. They just called me on Tuesday and said you’re in. I have no idea what I did to make that happen.
But why you?
Because I think they like my creativity. My cooking has its own personality. I’m never satisfied with it; I like to challenge myself, and they know that.
What did you do before being a chef instructor?
I have a restaurant in Westchester called Pascal. I’m not as involved in it anymore.
Have you ever been in any kind of cooking contest before?
Never! I thought about it many times. I’m not scared, though. I’m not nervous. I know I can do this. I’m dealing with it, anyway.
You seem pretty collected for a guy facing this kind of challenge. How is that?
Hey, I worked for Jean-Jacques Rachou at La Côte Basque. If you’re not tough before that, you’ll get toughened up.
What’s your style?
Classical French. But I’m a big dreamer. So I’m always trying to make things different. I think that will help in the competition. I can’t talk about my recipes, but I feel very good about them. I don’t care what this does for my career. It would be great for me personally as an achievement, great for the U.S., and great for the school. We can’t forget about the FCI — without them this never would have happened. I know that.