Danny Cerqueda of the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh is one of a dozen semifinalists competing Feb. 6 for the U.S. spot in the 2011 Bocuse d'Or International Culinary Competition. Cerqueda and the others -- "Top Chef" contestant Kevin Gillespie from Atlanta, plus four from New York and one each from Vermont, Nevada, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois (one woman among them) -- were chosen by the Bocuse D'Or USA Foundation's Board of Directors, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse. Begun in 1987 by well-known French chef Paul Bocuse, that competition (also called the culinary Olympics) is held every other year and pits teams of two (a chef and an assistant) from 24 countries. It will be held in January 2011 in Lyon, France.
Last year, Tim Hollingsworth of the French Laundry led the U.S. team to sixth place -- which is the best the U.S. has ever done (it also placed sixth in '05).
The other semifinalists and current restaurants/businesses, according to the press release:
- Luke Bergman, The Modern, New York
- Michael Clauss, Daily Planet, Burlington, Vermont
- Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill, Atlanta
- James Kent, Eleven Madison Park, New York
- Mark Liberman, Roxy’s Black Sheep, West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Christopher Parsons, Catch, Winchester, Mass.
- Jennifer Petrusky, Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago
- John Rellah, New York Yacht Club, New York
- Jeremie Tomczak, French Culinary Institute, New York
- Andrew Weiss, The Chef’s Workshop, Las Vegas
- Percy Whatley, The Ahwahnee, Yosemite, Calif. (who was also a semifinalist last time)
And for "Top Chef" addicts, find out who Eater.com thinks will be showing up on the second season of "Top Chef Masters" here.