Australia has secured a coveted spot at the Bocuse d’Or Grand Finale next year, after placing fourth at Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific in China this week.

The team comprised candidate Michael Cole, commis chef Laura Skvor, coach Scott Pickett and Australian Bocuse d’Or president Tom Milligan. Skvor was also named Best Commis Chef of the competition overall.

Twelve Asia Pacific countries competed in the event held in Guangzhou, with the top five teams now heading to Lyron, France in 2019 for the main event. Japan took out bronze, Thailand won silver and South Korea won bronze, followed by Australia in fourth and Singapore fifth. China was named as a wild card competitor also heading for Lyon.

Known as “The Olympics of Cooking”, The Bocuse d’Or challenges teams to prepare two dishes in less than six hours, one of which is presented on a decorative platter and then plated for judges. This year’s mandatory ingredient for the first dish was veal tenderloin and salmon for the platter.

Extra points are given for “typicality”, or dishes that reflect the flavours and culture of the competitor. Cole included Australian ingredients such as Vegemite, abalone that he hand-dived off the Mornington Peninsula coast, ash from red gum cut from his own property, Australian black truffles and morels, Warrigal greens, Tasmanian black garlic, ink from Flinders squid and foraged native herbs.

Milligan says Cole and Skvor worked extremely hard training for the event and their efforts paid off against very tough competition.

“We came to Guangzhou to qualify for Lyon and we are thrilled to have achieved our goal,” he says. “Laura winning Best Commis as well is a huge credit to her, and a well-deserved honour.”

The Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest in Lyon next January will be an even greater challenge for the Australian team, who will compete against 23 teams of elite chefs from around the world.

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