Here's The Platter That Put The U.S. Team In The Running At Bocuse D'Or

Talk about tension! For two days in late January, two-man teams from around the globe cooked with athletic intensity, executing insanely complicated dishes that had to look and taste like the most incredible food ever served on a platter, all in an effort to win gold, silver or bronze at the 2013 Bocuse D'Or in Lyon, France. The U.S. team waited for the announcement in late January thinking that they had a chance to be on the podium, maybe even win it all.

"We threw everything at them, we came out swinging," says Richard Rosendale, the chef who represented the U.S. team, along with his commis Corey Siegel. Even one of the team's leaders, Thomas Keller, thought they had a shot after all the platters had been judged, Rosendale says, but in the end, the U.S. came in 7th; France took the gold, Denmark silver and Japan bronze. Two other teams have placed higher in the biannual competition, with 2005 and 2009 U.S. teams placing 6th.

Rosendale trained hard for the Bocuse, shuttling back and forth between the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, where he's executive chef, and a Bocuse test kitchen built for the U.S. team near Keller's French Laundry in Yountville, CA. In the months leading up to the competition, Rosendale began to develop his plating concepts for the fish and meat dishes, and he tells us about them in detail here.

The meat platter, Rosendale says, was an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright's famed Fallingwater — the chef grew up in southern Pennsylvania, near the architectural landmark — and included a built-in adjustable heating element to keep the dishes warm. Rosendale also borrowed from another of Lloyd Wright's masterpieces, the Guggenheim, to create a spiral showcase for the oxtail in his dish. The platter itself he fashioned by taking an electric turkey knife and creating a model out of poster board, before sending it to a company called CDS (Custom Designers and Silversmiths) to produce it.

The presentation sounds incredible. Rosendale also drew from his childhood memories for the recipe, taking his mom's Yankee Pot Roast as a cue to reproduce the flavors from the slow cooker as a sort of postmodern mash-up of meat and vegetables, complete with a side that involved carrots cooked sous vide and transformed into a gelée — "it was like a super carrot!" he exclaims —and a potato dumpling with a beef broth/dehydrated vegetable infusion.

Rosendale and Siegel also turned out grilled beef and a fish dish made moist thanks to a syringe filled with Champagne. "Most people would have looked at our prep list and told us that we were out of our mind," Rosendale says.

Still, they were confident that despite the ambitious presentations, they'd performed well enough to win. "Corey and I were high fiving each other," Rosendale says. "When they announced the awards, I was like, man, what are you going to do?"

Rosendale sounds anything but bitter. He's back at his day job, cooking for a clientele at the Greenbrier that's only grown since the attention that his Bocuse turn brought him.

"The whole process just makes you better," he says. "It's not like you're at a high school bake-off. It's pretty serious stuff!"

[All Bocuse D'Or coverage on Food Republic]