The first ever Commis Competition sponsored by the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation took place this past Saturday, January 28th on the campus of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. The idea was to recognize young talent working the stoves of America’s kitchens. The young cooks chosen to compete in this competition were selected based upon their abilities and their potential. These are names to watch for down the road. They are likely to be amongst the next generation of notable chefs and potentially competitors to represent Team USA in future Bocuse d’Or competitions.For this competition, the commis had to prepare a plate based on Paul Bocuse’s classic “Poulet au Vinaigre.” Staggered in fifteen minute increments, each team (consisting of the “commis” and a recently graduated assistant from the C.I.A.) had two and a half hours to start and complete a plate from scratch and serve it to a group of eminent judges for review and tasting. As with the Bocuse d’Or, the competitors were judged on taste, presentation and quality of their work in the kitchen. The competitors included Tristan Aitchison, sous chef of Providence Restaurant in Los Angeles, Rose Weiss, a student extern from The French Culinary Institute working at Gramercy Tavern in NYC, Samuel benson, sous chef at Café Boulud in NYC and Sonny Longboy Acosta Jr, Cook III at Alan Wong’s in Honolulu, HI.
The competition culminated with the not yet graduated from culinary school Rose Weiss (she graduated the following Monday, January 30th) winning the $10,000 stipend with a three month stage at a Michelin three star restaurant of her choice in Europe. Samuel Benson took home second place, while Tristan Aitchison won third. It was an exciting competition and it was thrilling to see the quality of what came out of these young chef’s kitchens. Below is a slide show of my photos from the event.