Chefly awards, including a big one for Mr. Puck
No, not the Oscars. The James Beard Foundation has announced that this year’s lifetime achievement award will go to none other than our own Mr. Puck. The award is “bestowed upon someone whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and/or think about food in America.” You might have thought he would have won already, no?
In reference to Puck, Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, explains, “He is the only person to win Outstanding Chef twice. Wolfgang has not only demonstrated to the industry his incredible talent but he has helped shape the industry by revolutionizing how American chefs think about food. What sets Wolfgang apart, however, is that his creativity takes him beyond our industry’s walls. As a former Humanitarian Award recipient, he has shown that the culinary industry can improve the lives of others and benefit society as a whole.”
He’ll receive the award Monday, May 7, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
In the world of chefly awards, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Bocuse d’Or. That’s the international competition held in Lyon, France (home of legendary French chef Paul Bocuse). The winner of the 2012 USA Bocuse d’Or -- the competition to represent the United States in the next year's big competition -- is Richard Rosendale of the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. This is no "Top Chef" kind of thing where the chef just wings it and hopes not to be humiliated. Rosendale trained for months for the competition. He and his commis (assistant) Corey Siegel will now begin an intensive, yearlong training under the wings of Bocuse d’Or USA’s board of directors, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse. Team USA’s coaches include Thousand Oaks native Gavin Kaysen (executive chef, Daniel in NYC), Grant Achatz (Alinea, Chicago) and Gabriel Kreuther (the Modern, NYC). First stop: The French Laundry in Napa Valley. Goal: winning the 2013 Bocuse d’Or competition.
In just 363 days, Rosendale will compete in Lyon against chefs from 24 countries for the championship (and a gold statue of Paul Bocuse). I have my fingers crossed that someone will be live-tweeting the competition, as happened with the USA round.
Rosendale wasn’t the only winner, though. Rose Weiss, a student at the International Culinary Center and extern at Gramercy Tavern in New York, won the first-ever Commis Competition. Her prize? A three-month paid apprenticeship at a three-starred Michelin restaurant in France. Her choice of any of the twenty-five who have received the Michelin’s highest honor. Tristan Aitchison from Providence in Los Angeles placed third. Impressive.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Top: Wolfgang Puck at the Oscars. Credit. Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times. Middle: Chef Richard Rosendale, left, and commis Corey Siegel at the 2012 Bocuse d’Or USA. Credit: Courtesy of Bocuse d'Or USA Bottom: Rose Weiss competing in the new Commis Competition at the 2012 Bocuse d’Or USA. Credit: Courtesy of Bocuse d’Or USA.