Monday, June 16, 2014

Bocuse d'Or USA renames itself to be more American

L to R: Chefs Boulud, Keller and Bocuse.
How do you say "karma" in French?

I'm wondering because, periodically, large segments of the French population get all exercised about too many American English words creeping into their everyday language. They then demand "ethnic cleansing" of their lingua franca.

Well, in a nod to getting their message across to food professionals in the U.S., the celebrity chef founders of a little something called the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation have decided to de-Frenchify and Americanize the name.

Jérôme Bocuse, Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud have enamed their organization the ment’or BKB Foundation, which sounds odd but at the same time a lot more America.

Boulud, in a nod toward the Americanization of the group, said in a press release, "The change of name from The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation to ment’or BKB Foundation signifies our big-picture mission to support aspiring young culinary professionals in America. Our goal is to create opportunities for young talent to pursue their ambitions through continuing education. In addition to supporting Team USA’s representation at the biennial Bocuse d’Or competition, ment’or will provide a range of grants and programming through public and private support.”

Boulud, head of the New York-based Dinex Group and native of Lyon, France, was himself mentored by Paul Bocuse, Jérôme’s father. 

Keller, founder of the iconic French Laundry restaurant in California, says in a press release:

“The tenet of mentorship is deeply ingrained in the culture of our profession. We have a responsibility to share our knowledge with young chefs and culinary professionals, ensuring that we continue to hold ourselves to the highest of standards and preserve the foundation of classic cuisine in America.”

Paul Bocuse was one of the trailblazers of nouvelle cuisine in the 1960s, and established the Bocuse d’Or international competition. 

The revamped foundation plans to hold the first in a series of Young Chef Competitions in the fall. Four such competitions in different parts of the country will award first- and second-place finishers $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, towards their culinary education.

The foundation also will continue selecting and training the U.S. team to compete in the Bocuse d’Or, which in 2015 will be held in Boulud's Lhyon hometown.

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