Acclaimed chef shares ingredients for competing on flying visit to UCB

November 2017

A packed room of culinary students listened in awe as world-renowned American chef Phillip Tessier relayed his mind-blowing experience of leading the US to victory in the Bocuse d’Or.

The celebrated chef, who won silver in what is arguably the most prestigious global cooking tournament in 2015 and coached the team that took the coveted gold in this year’s show-stopping final in Lyon – also shared his top 10 ingredients for competing on his flying visit to UCB.

In the UK to assist in the selection of the UK’s Bocuse d’Or candidate for the 2019 Olympics of the food world, Phillip said courage, talent, hard work, grit, humility, opportunity, teamwork, failure, leadership and faith were all vital for reaping success on the competitive stage.

“From pretty humble beginnings, I found myself facing the same challenges as you as a young chef,” he said during his aspirational talk to students from across the College of Food.

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“Competing in the Bocuse d’Or arena in front of 2,500 screaming fans was terrifying, but it was such an amazing feeling to be called up on that podium. To then coach the USA team that took gold was a fairytale ending. It’s about facing our fears and pursuing our dreams.”

Phillip, who hails from Napa Valley in California, trained at the  Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and after graduation, sought out the best kitchens of France, New York and California to hone his craft.

Over three decades, Tessier – whose new book, Chasing Bocuse, is now on sale - worked at some of the world’s most renowned restaurants, including Roger Verge’s  Le Moulin de Mougins, Eric Ripert’s  Le Bernadin and Thomas Keller’s  Per SeBouchon and  The French Laundry.

Today, he adds culinary expertise to a talented team of engineers and scientists to develop a new platform for cooking in the home as co-founder and culinary director of Hestan Smart Cooking. 

UCB student Ben Carlton, who is on a Royal Academy of Culinary Arts apprenticeship at UCB, said hearing Phillip’s journey to winning silver in the Bocuse d’Or – the first time America had won a place on the podium in the competition’s history – was brilliant. 

“He was really inspirational and such a humble chef,” said Ben. “He showed me how well-rounded you need to be a successful chef and the attributes you need to have. Really enjoyed it.”

Find out more about courses at UCB’s College of Food.

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