The Chicken, The Fish and the King Crab
by José Luis López-Linares
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The “Bocuse d’Or”, the top award for professional chefs, is presented every two years in Lyon at a grand finale. This final is an extraordinary culinary experience. Having been selected during a highly regulated but nonetheless dubious nomination process, the finalists are given the task of preparing two meals in twelve portions in five-and-a-half hours. The cooking takes place in front of an audience in cubicles measuring 18 square metres that have been set up in a sports arena. The chefs are asked to use certain basic ingredients and must prepare everything from scratch. The participants compete under extremely tough conditions. The dishes should reflect both contemporary trends in cooking and contain some element that is characteristic for the finalist’s native country. And, since the final takes place in France, where cooking and the savouring of gastronomic delights are of particular importance, the cooks from other countries have an especially hard time of it. For this reason, the 2007 final is a real nail-biter.