Courtesy of Ken Goodman Photography

Head chef Matthew Kirkley (of Coi) and commis Mimi Chen (of Restaurant Daniel) will represent the United States at the prestigious culinary competition 

Maria Yagoda
November 10, 2017

Two Americans have just been selected to represent their country at the world's most prestigious culinary competition.

On Friday, the ment'or BKB Foundation, a nonprofit organization that nurtures young culinary talent, announced that chef Matthew Kirkley and commis Mimi Chen will be representing the United States at the iconic Bocuse d'Or competition, otherwise known as the "culinary olympics." The event, which takes place every two years, offers finalists from twenty-four countries the opportunity to demonstrate their culinary prowess in front of thousands.

"Since 2007, when I first saw the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, I have dreamed of competing for my country on the world's greatest culinary stage," said chef Matthew Kirkley in a statement. "I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to do so. I look forward to the challenges ahead, and to work with the great group of people that make up Bocuse d'Or Team USA."

At Team USA selection event, which follows the format of Bocuse d'Or, chefs had five hours and 35 minutes to prepare a platter composition and a plated dish to a panel. At this year's qualifying competition, the chefs were given a protein of Whole Bone-in American Wagyu Rib Roast (provided by Snake River Farms) and Steelhead Trout (provided by Norwegian Seafood Council.)

Kirkley, of Coi in San Francisco, and Chen, of Restaurant Daniel in New York, will represent the States at the upcoming Bocuse d'Or America's continental selection in April, and then, if all goes well, they'll compete in Lyon in January 2019. 

"I am very proud of Matthew and Mimi for having the confidence and the courage to have participated in this competition," said chef Thomas Keller, who is the president of ment'or. "It takes great teamwork and collaboration to achieve this goal. It's a monumental moment that signals the beginning of the Road to Lyon."

In January of this year, Team USA (led by Per Se executive sous chef Mathew Peters and commis Harrison Turone) won the competition, the very first time in Bocuse d'Or's 30 year history. 

Team USA is recruited, trained and funded by the ment'or BKB Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with young professionals in the industry.