It is an even numbered year, so that means it is time for the competition that chooses the American representative for the Bocuse d'Or - the ultimate international culinary competition. This is the time of year where I still get all excited and anxious and wistful. This is where I start researching the men in the running (hey look - Chef Rosendale!).
Once upon a time, I was an aspiring chef extraordinaire.
I was Chef Handke's apprentice for the Bocuse d'Or Concours - where he won the right to represent the USA in Lyon, France in 2001. I learned a lot from that experience and that man and that competition and that food.
Unluckily (or luckily), I was 4 months too old to be his apprentice for the final competition in France. The rules of the culinary world assumed someone my age would have been established and making a name for myself instead of apprenticing for another.
It is a decade later and I'm so-close-I-can-taste-it almost there.