After decades of attempting to prove our country is worth its salt on the culinary stage, Team USA’s win at the biennial Bocuse d’Or competition earlier this year was a well-earned triumph. Last night, Chef Mathew Peters and his team, who were coached by the French Laundry’s Phillip Tessier and mentored by Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud as well as the son of the competition’s founder, Jérôme Bocuse, took their victory lap on a surprising turn through Times Square to Kellogg’s NYC. Yes, that’s the breakfast cereal café that serves Eggo Waffle s’mores and Pop Tart milkshakes.
Through April 2nd, Team USA will have signature bowls of cereal showcased at the café for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. The creations from the competitors and advisors were previously on the menu back in December during the run up to the Bocuse d’Or competition in January. Chef Peters made a bold move naming his bowl the “Golden Chef” and topping the mix of Honey Smacks, dried cherries, pecans, and cinnamon milk with gold flake. That moniker and accompanying garnish proved prophetic as Peters ended up bringing home the top prize.
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Chefs Keller and Boulud also designed signature cereals for the café. Keller’s “Ready to Go” bowl is a base of Special K topped with raspberries, blueberries and yogurt chips in the shape of an American flag and served with unsweetened almond milk. Boulud’s is a take on Turkish coffee, combining Cracklin’ Oat Bran, sesame halva and dried figs. Boulud told us he prefers flavored milk, so the chef created one infused with coffee, cardamom and orange blossom.
Another inventive highlight of the six bowls is one by Per Se commis Harrison Turone. Named after his home state, “Nebraska Fields,” it features Rice Krispies, peanut butter cups, blueberries and banana milk.
The members of Team USA come from Ment’or, the culinary education foundation that has Keller, Boulud, Bocuse and Wyndham Hotel Groups’ Julia Russell on its board. Chief among the foundation’s goals is to provide grants to up-and-coming chefs to develop the breadth and depth of their experience with trips to study ingredients and techniques domestically and abroad.
Kellogg’s NYC owner Anthony Rudolf, who previously ran the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, explains how America’s preeminent cooking team found their way into the cereal aisle, saying “I came up with the idea last spring when we were planning an event with the USA Women's Gymnastics team at the store which Kellogg's is a supporter of. I said ‘there is another Team USA that will be competing in 8 months from now and I think it'd be great if we supported them as well.’” With that, Kellogg's became an official partner with Ment'or helping to send Team USA to Lyon for the competition. “As soon as they won gold, I knew we needed to have them all back in the store just like the gymnasts.”
That invitation to return included the re-introduction of Team USA’s cereal menu, as well as Peters and his cohorts cooking dinner at Kellogg’s NYC and serving Boulud and Keller classics reimagined with cereal swapped in for some choice ingredients. A carrot ginger soup with kaffir lime and coconut cream was dusted with a rainbow of Froot Loops powder. Truffle custard was infused with Corn Flakes and garnished with a Special K chip. Keller’s Hawaiian hearts of peach palm salad received a sprinkling of Apple Jacks cereal, an odd ingredient that actually paired well with the tart apples, salty gastrique and creamy avocado mousse.
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The Team USA Bocuse d’OR celebration bowls are available at Kellogg’s NYC through April 4th for $8 each. Proceeds will benefit Ment’or and anyone who buys a bowl can enter a raffle to win dinner at Boulud’s Daniel and Keller’s Per Se. Yes, a chance to eat at one of New York’s fine dining institutions could be part of your balanced breakfast.