Australian Chef Alex McIntosh and Commis Chef Tristan Spain are just two months away from competing in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or Grand Final, to be held in Lyon, France, 22- 23 January 2023
In July, Alex’s Black Truffle & Macadamia Tofu dish secured him one of five places from Asia Pacific, along with China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Last month Sri Lanka was also added as a ‘wild card’ entrant.
Alex is the Executive Chef at Sou’West Brewery in Torquay, awarded 2022’s Best Tourism Restaurant in Victoria by Restaurant & Catering Australia. There he pushes the boundaries of casual dining, with a menu favouring local and foraged produce.
His assistant, or Commis Chef, in the competition is Tristan Spain, a chef at Vue de Monde in Melbourne. At just 22, Tristan is a prodigal young talent and is also Chair of Young Chefs Victoria.
Team Australia also includes Coach Dan Arnold, Jury Member Scott Pickett and Bocuse d’Or Australia President Tom Milligan, all of whom are past competitors themselves.
“It is an incredible honour to be among the 24 countries competing at the Bocuse d’Or,” says Tom Milligan. “Alex is a truly a force to be reckoned with, he has the culinary skills, creativity and discipline to compete at this high level and I can’t wait to see the dishes he presents to the judges.”
Previously Team Coach, Scott Pickett is now taking a seat on the judges’ table on both days as Australia’s Jury Member.
“I am very proud to be among some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs on the Tasting Jury,” says Scott. “Along with competing myself in 2005, this is one of the greatest highlights of my career.”
Taking on Scott’s former position as Team Coach is Brisbane chef Dan Arnold, who trained in France with Bocuse d’Or 2005 winner Serge Vieira and achieved Australia’s best ever result at the 2017 Grand Final in Lyon, at eighth place. His Restaurant Dan Arnold in Brisbane was recently named the best restaurant in Queensland.
During the competition Alex and Tristan will need to create two ‘themes’ in five and a half hours. The first theme, announced just last week, is ‘Feed the Children’, while the second is a dish presented on an intricate platter then plated and served to judges. As coach, Dan will be assisting them from the pass, but is not allowed to enter the competition kitchen.
This year, for the first time the plated theme is actually three dishes – a cold vegan entrée, a vegetarian main and a dessert – suitable for children and using pumpkin in every course, with egg included in the main dish. Meanwhile the mandatory ingredients for the platter are Scottish Monkfish and king scallops.
“Having just discovered the first theme, the pressure is on to create three dishes in just under a month, as our recipes must be submitted in December,” says Alex. “As a father myself I am looking forward to the opportunity to create a vegetable-based menu that would appeal to kids.”
Alex adds that the platter is a traditional element of Bocuse d’Or, and planning is well underway, with the seafood ingredients announced in July. “It is a huge challenge but I’m very happy with the direction we have taken, which includes produce from the Surf Coast and Australian native ingredients.”
Just like Olympians, Alex and Tristan have been training hard for many months to prepare for the contest in the kitchens at Sou’West Brewery and also at Victoria University in Melbourne.
In addition to training, the team have also been hard at work raising funds for the trip; Dan Arnold held a successful dinner at his restaurant last month, while Scott Pickett is hosting a canapé party at Matilda in Melbourne on 12 December for everyone to wish the team ‘Bon Voyage’.
“It has been my lifelong dream to represent Australia at the Bocuse d’Or,” says Alex. “Now we are so close, and I want to thank all the chefs, sponsors, and supporters who have helped me get this far. I aim to do them all proud.”
Support Bocuse d’Or Team Australia
‘Bon Voyage’ Champagne & Canapés Fundraiser at Matilda
Monday 12 December 6pm-8pm
Matilda, 159 Domain Road, South Yarra, Victoria
$100pp including unlimited canapés, Champagne Pommery and wines by Clos Cachet
‘Team Australia on the Road to Lyon’
Donations of any amount gratefully accepted.