The competition kitchen was already abuzz with excitement when I arrived at the C.I.A. yesterday morning, and the four chefs competing for the chance to represent the USA at the 2013 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon were already 2 hours into the 5 ½ hour cooking marathon they would complete that day. A full stadium of students and supporters cheered on their favorite contenders with horns and occasional cowbells. I was lucky enough to step beyond the velvet rope and view the competition from up close—or at least what I could see peering over the sea of finely pressed white jackets and tall white chef’s hats.
America’s culinary icons, including the likes of Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Jerome Bocuse, sat down to taste and compare notes on each hopeful’s two plates: One dish using River & Glen Hookers cod, and one larger platter of D’Artagnan chicken, each with three intricate garnishes. While everything looked impossibly perfect from where I was standing, of course only one chef can lead team USA in the 2013 Bocuse d’Or. We wish the best of luck to gold medal winner Chef Richard Rosendale, of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and his commis Corey Siegel, as they enter their year-long preparation for the international competition! —Cory Baldwin