Victorian chef Alex McIntosh has won the Bocuse d’Or Australia’s coveted ‘Golden Knife’ trophy and the opportunity to represent Australia in the world’s most prestigious culinary competition.
Held yesterday at Foodservice Australia in Melbourne, the competition saw Alex and his commis chef Sam Heritage, both from Sou’West Brewery in Torquay, compete against three other chef finalists and their assisting Commis Chefs.
Chef Paul Golding from Snooks Catering and Commis Chef Tristan Spain from Vue de Monde won the Silver trophy, while Chef Sweta Baichoo and her Commis Rochelle Kao from Pullman Melbourne on the Park took home Bronze, as did Chef Leslie Chan from Sushi Sushi and Commis Christopher Sdregas from Koi Koi.
Tristan Spain was named ‘Best Commis’ of the competition, an inaugural award in Australia that recognises young talent and the potential to continue competing at an elite level.
Alex’s passion for Bocuse d’Or first began in his native Canada almost two decades ago, when he narrowly missed being selected to compete as Commis Chef at the Bocuse d’Or Grand Final in Lyon.
Now a proud Australian, Alex has since been a finalist and a judge in previous Australian Bocuse d’Or competitions and attended the Grand Final to see Dan Arnold compete in 2017.
“To represent Australia really is a dream come true,” says Alex. “I have been working towards this for a long time and it has been a very important part of my life.
“To now be part of the elite few – I am very humbled that I will be included in that group of people from around the world to compete in the Bocuse d’Or.”
Each Chef and Commis had five-and-a-half hours to create a fish dish using whole barramundi, Port Philip Bay scallops and Victorian wild caught blacklip abalone, then a platter featuring Black Angus Beef and foie gras. Each had to be 50% vegetables or herbs and served with three different garnishes.
“I wanted to keep both my fish dish and meat platter simple in appearance, but with a lot of flavour,” says Alex.
“It was important to me to highlight ingredients from the Geelong, Torquay, Bellarine and Surf Coast areas,” he adds. “I used locally foraged ingredients and also product made by local artisanal producers.”
The competition featured a stellar lineup of 12 chefs led by Bocuse d’Or Australia President Tom Milligan and Team Coach Scott Pickett, and was compèred by Hilary McNevin, Gabriel Gaté and former competitors George Calombaris and Luke Croston.
“The Bocuse d’Or Australia 2021 is the first step on the road to Lyon, and also a thrilling competition in its own right,” says Tom. “I was blown away by the talent shown on each and every plate served to the judges.”
Alex McIntosh will compete at the Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific 2022, with a commis to be announced later this year. Assisting them will be Tom Milligan and Head Coach Scott Pickett, as well as a dedicated and passionate committee backed up by sponsors and partners from the hospitality industry.
“I congratulate everyone who competed yesterday and want to thank the sponsors, partners, judges and MCs who brought the event to life,” adds Tom. “This was our biggest ever Bocuse d’Or Australia competition and we see a great future ahead for Alex and Team Australia.”