HOW DO THE CHEFS MANAGE THE PREPARATION OF THE COMPETITION AND WHAT DO THEY RELY ON TO KEEP THE FLAME BURNING IN THIS CONTEXT?
Chefs are truly passionate and even if the flame is less bright, it still shines brightly. Cooking is an art, and our chefs have this vital need to express it and to live from their passion. We have been agile in maintaining the objectives of the competition by adapting the dates and taking into account all the sanitary constraints around the world, while maintaining equivalent requirements.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE TO THE BOCUSE D'OR RULES THIS YEAR? WHAT SHOULD WE REMEMBER?
The rules have certainly evolved but they are still firmly anchored in tradition. The first criterion to remember is to be a real chef with solid and specialized bases. We are fully keeping with the times and even with topical issues: in the next edition, the plate will be presented in a take-away formula in an appropriate box. This is a societal trend that we are seeing in restaurants today as a result of the various administrative closures enforced on our professions.
WHAT IS YOUR ANALYSIS OF THE CRISIS WE ARE GOING THROUGH?
It is a very great difficulty that we are going through and therefore a very great challenge to undertake. We have had to adapt more than ever... If I am talking about the United States at the "Pavillon Français" where we recently reopened or even in the French Brasseries and Restaurants after the first lockdown, we have reduced the offer and diversified the sales channels with click and collect. We have become more efficient with our customers and employees.
We are still committed to the quality of our food and service in a context that is very restrictive for the expression of our professions. Today, the opportunity is first and foremost to learn a great lesson, that of prudence... As for many generations before us, we are not immune to a conflict, an economic crisis, health crisis…
My father often reminded us that "It's when you think you've succeeded, that you start to fail". For all of our teams, it is now essential to prepare for the future and be ready to start again on solid foundations when the activity resumes. This is an unprecedented period; we have little hindsight or similar experience that would allow us to fully grasp it. But I am lucky enough to be surrounded by committed teams who respect the DNA of our Houses and who have been able to maintain the optimism that has always been a vector of success for "Bocuse". Nature always comes back to its own and after these times of great frustration, there is bound to be a certain euphoria; all our teams are preparing for it! I can still hear my father giving this advice when biding farewell "keep your spirits up". I am convinced that the rebound will come thanks to the vaccination campaign. It is in our DNA, and more particularly in France, to share moments of conviviality, particularly around gastronomy.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE THIS EDITION OF THE BOCUSE D'OR IN ONE WORD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The most awaited and certainly an edition full of emotions after the period we have just been through.
Elodie Volant : +33 (0)6 75 50 20 67
Virginie Raison : +33 (0)6 65 27 33 52