Photo credit: Thierry du Bois, Cosmos image 

Final Bocuse d’Or for Team Canada

The Office montréalais de la gastronomie (OMG) and the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) join their voices to encourage the Canadian Bocuse d’Or team that will take part in the world final of the prestigious culinary competition in Lyon in January 2023! The two organizations are proud to support a 100% Montreal team, composed of Samuel Sirois and Gilles Herzog, cooking teachers at the ITHQ, as well as Léandre Legault-Vigneau, clerk and ITHQ graduate, who qualified for the final after winning the silver medal at the Bocuse d’Or Americas on July 14 in Santiago, Chile.

Tourisme Montréal is pleased to award $23,000 in financial assistance to clerk Léandre Legault-Vigneault, support made possible thanks to the outreach program of the Office montréalais de la gastronomie. “This financial support highlights Léandre’s perseverance and determination in his field. The money will allow him to focus on perfecting his techniques, until January. This is the first time such a gastronomy outreach program has been set up, and we are very proud of it. We believe that Montreal has the makings of a gastronomic capital, and we are taking concrete action to formalize this title! ” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.

Photo credit: Thierry du Bois, Cosmos image 

“The Bocuse d’Or competition is an incredible opportunity to showcase Quebec and Canadian gastronomy to the eyes of the world. At the ITHQ level, our professors who decide to take up the challenge of this major competition also develop a set of knowledge and skills that they then pass on to their students. The next generation also wins! On my own behalf and on behalf of the ITHQ, I wish Samuel, Gilles and Léandre the best of luck. Team Canada has everything to win! ” said the Honourable Liza Frulla, Executive Director of the ITHQ.

“Our team is my sanctuary. Without the synergy of our team, none of this would have been possible. And this is all the more true in the context of the global upheavals that we have experienced, especially in the tourism and restaurant industry. Team Canada is certainly our core: Gilles, Léandre and me. But it is also all those who accompany us in this beautiful challenge, who are interested, and who support us. Participating in the Bocuse d’Or competition is a great adventure. I am very grateful to the ITHQ, Chefs Canada and each of the individuals who allow us to rise and grow in our quest for excellence,” added Samuel Sirois, head of the Bocuse d’Or Canadian team.

Photo credit: Thierry du Bois, Cosmos image 

Rigorous training worthy of the greatest athletes to achieve excellence
The Bocuse d’Or is often compared to the Olympic Games of gastronomy or the culinary Oscars for the intense excitement and touch of magic that surround the competition. Like athletes, participants undergo a special training program over a long period of time to be ready to compete against the 23 best chefs in the world. 

Since the beginning of training, members of the Canadian team have had the opportunity to practice at the Centre national Bocuse d’Or Canada, designed in collaboration with Chefs Canada and built in 2020 in the ITHQ compound, thanks to the support of Canada Economic Development of the ITHQ. This kitchen has the particularity of being identical in every way to the one in which Team Canada will perform during the competition. Beyond the practical training conditions, Samuel, Gilles and Léandre also benefit from a framework worthy of high-level athletes, both physical and mental. In addition to undergoing sports exercises, they are accompanied by an expert to follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle, including increased sleep control. The social aspect is also very important. Chefs pay particular attention to the presence of their family before the competition as well as the balance between their private life and the time spent on their preparation. They are also supervised to manage their stress; Cooking in front of more than 250,000 spectators, there is enough to feel nervous! It, therefore, requires a great deal of preparation.

Design and elegance are invited into the competition
Gastronomy is a matter of taste buds… and pupils! To ensure that its dishes stand out among those of the best chefs in the world, the team of chefs is accompanied by a team of specialists from RICOSTUDIO, a Montreal industrial design firm.  Its mandate is to create a unique piece, highlighting the menu developed for the final of the Bocuse d’or, taking into consideration technical constraints such as temperature, the arrangement of food and its handling during the presentation. The tray, a true work of art, is custom-made by experienced craftsmen; a Glassblower, metal sculptor and cabinetmaker are all involved. An operation that requires a year of work.