Bocuse d’Or is the world’s most prestigious gastronomy competition. When the competition is on, you have only one chance — there’s no room for mistakes in the chase for a winning formula.
Ørjan Johannesen has a dream: to be the world’s best chef. In the pursuit of this challenging goal, months of preparation await. But how do you get ready for one of the world’s most famous gastronomic competitions?
Since the age of 9, Ørjan started cooking at the hotel Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri where he grew up. Today he divides his time between the hotel kitchen and the contest-training kitchen in Sandefjord, where his trainer, Odd Ivar Solvold, is based. Odd Ivar won the bronze at Bocuse d’Or in 1997, and has since led other Norwegian chefs to success. Becoming the best chef in the world is not something you can do solely on your own. It takes a team effort and precise preparations.
In Bocuse d’Or Europe, 2014, Ørjan Johannesen came third, qualifying for the 2015 gastronomic World Championship in Lyon. Now he faces the challenge ahead calmly and with the same credo as always: that the ingredients' original flavours stand out and people say, "Wow, how can something so simple and uncomplicated taste so good?” The simple combination of good service and good food is what creates the best dining experience. Yet often what seems simple is the most complex thing of all.
The Formula 1 of chefs
If Bocuse d’Or is the Formula 1 of chefs, it’s a truly now-or-never scenario. A great number of pieces have to fall in place for anyone to prepare and compete for the medals at Bocuse d’Or. Ørjan Johannesen is devoting a lot of time to details beyond the food itself. Rules, equipment and hygiene conditions have to be kept under absolute control. He adds, “At the competition in Lyon, I have limited time on my hands and I depend on everything to be neat and clean all along. Good hygiene is critical." You have one shot at success when competing against the best chefs in the world, and the smallest detail might have the biggest impact.
Ørjan uses Tork Low Lint Cleaning Cloths to make sure that every part of the silver plate looks perfect for final presentation. In Bocuse d’Or, everything needs to be immaculate. No fingerprints or smudges and equally important: no unintended drops of sauce or wayward sprinkles of spice. For this kind of perfection, the Tork Low Lint Cleaning Cloth polishes without leaving any lint residue, is food contact approved, and absorbs fat quickly.
This article was written before the 2015 edition of Bocuse d'Or. And guess what. He won.