Down in a bunker, US chef targets French cooking prize

Richard Rosendale is a man on a mission -- to capture one of international cooking's most coveted prizes, the Bocuse d'Or. And he's going about it with military precision.

In a windowless Cold War bunker under The Greenbrier, a splendid antebellum resort hotel in rural West Virginia, the 37-year-old chef is perfecting his dishes with a view to nothing short of total victory.

"For over 10 years I wanted to compete," Rosendale told AFP as he prepared to fly to Lyon, France for the biannual competition on January 29-30 that many regard as the Olympics of fine cuisine.

"I just look at it as the pinnacle of cooking competitions."

If he wins the gold prize against rivals from 23 countries, he will be the first American ever to do so. Even if he takes silver or bronze, it would be a US breakthrough in a competition traditionally dominated by Europeans.

Rosendale, executive chef of the Greenbrier's nine acclaimed restaurants, is no novice, having opened two restaurants and participated in 45 international culinary competitions.

He qualified for the Bocuse d'Or, named after the celebrated Lyonnais chef and nouvelle-cuisine pioneer Paul Bocuse, after winning the national Bocuse d'Or USA finals a year ago.

Every day, Rosendale and his commis (assistant) Corey Siegel, 22, descend into the bunker -- originally built to shelter US politicians in the event of nuclear war -- and get cooking.

In an exact replica of the kitchen they will use in Lyon, right down to the utensils, with a US flag on the wall, they perfect the meat, fish and side dishes they will present to 14 discerning judges.

An adjoining "war room" features a countdown clock and photographs of winning dishes from past regional Bocuse d'Or contests.

During his allotted five-hour, 35-minute slot in Lyon, Rosendale is planning to make beef filet, lobster and turbot dishes, plus three sides using ingredients from a surprise shopping basket.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for all the competitors," he said. "But I don't just want to go to Lyon and say, 'I did the Bocuse d'Or.' I do want to win."

So far, no American chef has ever risen past sixth place in the competition.

During a recent visit to the Greenbrier, Rosendale and Siegel, dressed in matching crisp white chef's uniforms, worked in lockstep as they prepared a beef stock.

"Corey, how much of that wine did you use?" asked Rosendale, who compares the intensity of their work to playing an American football game.

"Three hundred and seventy-five grams," or 13.2 ounces, Siegel replied. "We have enough for four servings."

"OK," his boss said. "We've got to really watch that, because that stuff is... I only have the two bottles."

Rosendale, a native of Pennsylvania who draws inspiration from the classic American cooking he grew up with, said: "I've got a pretty good idea of what I want to do."

He cites Yankee pot roast and butternut squash cooked in apple cider -- "it goes great with lobster" -- among his favorites.

"The ideas for the beef are things that I remember from my childhood, that I grew up eating, things that my mom used to cook," he added. "It's very much an American style.

"I love the flavor of eating a grilled steak on the grill, and I think of the Fourth of July whenever I have that," Rosendale said.

The challenge: "How do you take a grilled steak off of the grill, and how can you elevate that to a very high level of cuisine?" he added.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Bruce Jenner's 1984 Olympic Torch going on auction block
    Bruce Jenner's 1984 Olympic Torch going on auction block

    NEW YORK (AP) — The 1984 Summer Olympic Torch that Bruce Jenner carried through Lake Tahoe, Nevada, is going on the auction block where it could fetch $20,000 or more. …

  • Sam Smith makes smooth debut at Montreux jazz festival
    Sam Smith makes smooth debut at Montreux jazz festival

    By Stephanie Nebehay MONTREUX, Switzerland(Reuters) - British soul singer Sam Smith, freshly recovered from surgery on his vocal cords, delivered a smooth yet punchy concert to jazz fans on Tuesday night in his first appearance on the famed Montreux stage. Smith opened with "I'm not the Only One", followed by other chart-topping hits from his 2014 debut studio album "In the Lonely Hour", including "Leave Your Lover", "Restart" and "Not in that Way". "Wow, this is amazing to me for many …

  • 'Can't Buy Me Love' actress Amanda Peterson dies at 43
    'Can't Buy Me Love' actress Amanda Peterson dies at 43

    GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Amanda Peterson, best known for her role in the 1987 romantic comedy "Can't Buy Me Love," has died. She was 43. …

  • 'The View' says host Rosie Perez leaving to focus on acting
    'The View' says host Rosie Perez leaving to focus on acting

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's more host upheaval ahead for ABC's "The View," with Rosie Perez leaving the daytime talk show. …

  • Cosby accusers claim vindication, friends reserve judgment
    Cosby accusers claim vindication, friends reserve judgment

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — While many of Bill Cosby's accusers feel vindicated by his decade-old admission that he gave at least one woman quaaludes before sex, some of his Hollywood friends are reserving judgment, saying the testimony doesn't prove he committed a crime. …

  • 2nd defense expert says theater shooter was legally insane
    2nd defense expert says theater shooter was legally insane

    CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — A second defense expert testified Tuesday that the Colorado theater shooter was so mentally ill that he couldn't tell right from wrong at the time he opened fire on a packed auditorium, killing 12 people and injuring 70. …

  • Bill Cosby's moralizing comes back to haunt him
    Bill Cosby's moralizing comes back to haunt him

    By Edward McAllister and Jill Serjeant NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill Cosby's forthright views on black parenting came back to haunt him this week when a U.S. judge called the comedian a "public moralist" who had lost the right of personal privacy in a 2005 civil sexual assault case. The career of the once beloved comedian from TV's "The Cosby Show" is in tatters after more than 40 women came forward in the past year to accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them in incidents dating back …

  • Miss USA contestants dismiss Trump comments, show must go on
    Miss USA contestants dismiss Trump comments, show must go on

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Controversy continues to surround presidential candidate Donald Trump's comments painting Mexican immigrants as criminals, but the women taking part in the upcoming Miss USA pageant Trump co-owns say the show must go on. …

  • Beyonce's unretouched L'Oreal photos only latest in her long history of Photoshop controvers …

    Beyonce's unretouched L'Oreal photos only latest in her long history of Photoshop controvers …

    Celebrity News - Fri, Feb 20, 2015 1:47 AM PHT
    Beyonce's unretouched L'Oreal photos only latest in her long history of Photoshop controvers …

    Beyonce’s #Flawless image is embroiled in controversy once again. On Wednesday, a web site called The Beyonce World leaked 224 allegedly raw photos of the musician. The images showed Bey in full makeup for the 2013 L’Oreal ad campaign — but with the kinds of “imperfections” we all have — beauty marks, bumps, creases. In the wake of Cindy Crawford’s unretouched photos, the images have been praised by critics of a beauty industry that sets impossibly high standards, standards that Queen Bey …

  • Taylor Swift reveals ‘Style’ video

    Taylor Swift reveals ‘Style’ video

    omg - Sat, Feb 14, 2015 12:14 AM PHT
    Taylor Swift reveals ‘Style’ video

    The 25-year-old released the video for her third cut from platinum selling album 1989. …

  • My mother-in-law’s personal encounter with the pope

    My mother-in-law’s personal encounter with the pope

    Write Away - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 2:29 PM PHT
    My mother-in-law’s personal encounter with the pope

    For my mother-in-law Mrs. Elsa Yrastorza Yuzon, flying and soaring in the skies is part of her normal routine. But it reached new heights when Pope Francis boarded Shepherd One. …