While every chef we know is lamenting the shortage of quality cooks, Thomas Keller and a few pals are personally making sure the good ones are pushed out into the world. During the ment’or Young Chef Competition Series, which takes place at Bouchon in Beverly Hills on Thursday, August 27, four up-and-coming chefs go pan-to-pan at the high-stakes cooking competition in an effort to win a $10 thousand cash prize and an opportunity to intern at the restaurant of their choice.
And this is better than any competition you’ll see on TV: Not only can you watch the chefs work their magic in the kitchen, you get to have dinner and Champagne, too.
The competition helps foster young talent in conjunction with the ment’or BKB Foundation, which Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Jerome Bocuse established in 2008. This year’s competing chefs come from near and far: William Lansing (The Strand House, Manhattan Beach), Skylar Stover (Hestan, Anaheim), David Kneller (Bartlett Pear Inn, Easton, MD), and Michelle Tribble (Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, Dallas, TX). There are three more events around the country after this, including stops in Chicago, New York, and Houston.
Following the Bocuse d’Or format, the young chefs have to do something fabulous with black sea bass within the allotted two hour and 35 minute timeframe. Guest judges—William Bradley (Addison), Josiah Citrin (Melisse), Traci des Jardins (Jardinière), Timothy Hollingsworth (Barrel & Ashes), Walter Manzke (République), and Alan Wong (Alan Wong’s Honolulu)—will critique their dishes and pick a first and second place team.
“To win they have to show a lot of knowledge of technique, plus presentation of the dish and most of all if it’s delicious,” Citrin says. “It really ranges, though, because all of the contestants come from so many different backgrounds. It’s interesting to see what the can do. It’s really a great thing for the cooks.”
While the chefs are working hard, everyone else, i.e. you, will be nibbling on canapés, sipping on Champagne and sitting to a multi-course dinner while hobnobbing with other guests (and the chefs, who will most likely make the rounds).
Tickets are $125 per person for the evening, which includes everything. Spring for the $250 VIP ticket for an earlier reception with the guest chefs, a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen, and a gift bag. All proceeds go to the ment’or BKB Foundation. VIP starts at 6pm, dinner starts at 7pm, and the awards ceremony is at 9pm. Get tickets and info here.
Bouchon, 235 N. Cannon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-271-9910