French Chef, Julien Richard from Hotel Bendor, les îles Paul Ricard, was announced as the winner of the 50th Le Taittinger Prix Culinaire International last night, following a closely fought final in Paris. Emmanuel Renault, President of the International judging panel and himself a Three Michelin Starred Chef, and Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, President of Champagne Taittinger announced the winner and presented the trophy at the evening celebration at the Palais Garnier, Paris.
The landmark final saw seven contestants from France, Japan, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK compete for the first prize of €10,000. The theme of the 2016 final was Hommage à Michel Comby and finalists were tasked with producing a turbot dish served three ways and a second dish of a Tarte à l’Orange.
The dishes were tasted and judged blind by an esteemed panel boasting an impressive 28 combined Michelin stars. It included from France, JP Bostoen, L’Auberge de L’Ill; Michel Roth, Président Wilson; Gérard Boyer, ex Les Crayères; Régis Marcon, Régis et Jacques Marcon; J Le Squer, George V; Stéphanie Le Quellec, Prince de Galles; Guillaume Gomez, Chef Elysées, French Presidence; Arnaud Lallement, l’Assiette Champenoise and Michel Comby. Plus, Pierre Résimont, l’Eau Vive, Belgium; Stéphane Decotterd, Pont de Brent, Switzerland ; Michel Roux, Le Gavroche, London ; H Horita, Mange Tout, Tokyo ; Ulf Wagner, Sjomagasinet, Sweden.
The intricate kitchen work was judged by the talented kitchen jury of Bernard Leprince, Christian Née, La Pyramide in France, Amandine Chaignot from the Rosewood in London and Lars van Galen from the Netherlands.
Nicolas Hensinger of La Taverne du Mont d’Arbois came second, and received €4,800, while Kenji Yoshimoto from the Intercontinental Tokyo Bay hotel in Japan winning the third prize of €2,500.
UK representative was Raj Holuss, 1st Sous Chef at Waterside, Bray, who won the UK final of the competition for the second year in a row in September. As a finalist he received a trophy and certificate.
The competition, which was set up 50 years ago, is open to chefs between the ages of 24 and 39, with over five years’ experience. Often referred to as the ‘Everest of Gastronomy’, it demonstrates Champagne Taittinger’s commitment to the promotion of young, upcoming chefs.