On February 11, the Bocuse d’Or Winners chefs were in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, at the restaurant on the banks of the Saône where Paul Bocuse was born 90 years ago. They had come in large numbers to show their admiration and affection for this exceptional human being, talented chef, and creator of the contest that bears his name.
The Bocuse d’Or was launched in 1987, and will celebrate its 30th anniversary next January. Since then, all the chefs who have climbed the podium have had the honor and delight of seeing their names engraved at the entrance to the restaurant, a strong symbol of Paul Bocuse’s attachment to an event now viewed as the toughest and most prestigious culinary contest in the world.
To mark the anniversary, the Bocuse d’Or Winners chefs presented their mentor with a gift: a statue inaugurated on this occasion in the restaurant’s courtyard. The statue is a duplicate of a sculpture commissioned by the City of Lyon from artist Thierry Portier, which now presides at the Tourist Office, in Place Bellecour, Lyon. Donation of the work of art was personally financed by the chefs (without using association funds), emphasizing their desire to express their gratitude and admiration to Paul Bocuse.
In his short speech, the president of the Bocuse d’Or Winners, Ferdy Debecker, says that the contest changes the lives of the chefs who take part in it, and that there is always a before, and an after Bocuse d’Or. The event also saw Jérôme Bocuse appointed vice president of Honour of the Bocuse d’Or Winners alongside his father. The inauguration was followed by a family-style meal, without cameras or journalists, respecting Paul Bocuse’s desire to experience the day in a calm and intimate atmosphere. Alongside the chefs: the mayor of Lyon, Gérard Collomb, and Olivier Ginon, both very much attached to the Bocuse d’Or, a contest that flies the city’s flag high.