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Culinary Team Canada goes for ‘shot at podium’

After two years and 50 trial runs, Vancouver chef David Wong says his methodically designed menu for the world’s most prestigious culinary competition is nearly perfect.

After two years and 50 trial runs, Vancouver chef David Wong says his methodically designed menu for the world’s most prestigious culinary competition is nearly perfect.

Wong and his apprentice Grace Pineda will be competing against top chefs from 23 other countries in the biannual Bocuse D’Or culinary competition in Lyon, France, at the end of the month.

Yesterday, members of the media and chefs from various Vancouver restaurants crowded in the kitchen at the Art Institute of Vancouver — where Wong teaches — to watch his final timed practice.

It was also the first time anyone outside his team got to sample the menu.

“This was arguably our best (run),” Wong said. “I feel great. A lot of it by this point is mental, now.”

“We reformed the menu all the way down to (yesterday) ... and I think we’re still going to be revisiting things all the way down to our flight on (Jan.) 21.”

The competition, founded in 1987 by chef Paul Bocuse, has 24 chefs from 24 countries competing in front of 8,000 journalists and screaming spectators for the title of world’s best chef.

“This is very much like an elite sporting event,” said Canada’s Chef de Mission, Vincent Parkinson.

John Humphreys, executive chef with Moxie’s, which is sponsoring Team Canada, said the team’s level of attention to technical detail is “astounding.”

He said Wong is so focused that he sets the clock to France time when he practises.
“This is like playing for the Stanley Cup with the press on the ice, (and) I think we’ve got a shot at the podium.”

 
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