We’ve got a winner at Bocuse d'Or Bulgaria 2017

Chef Nichola Nikolov won Bocuse d'Or Bulgaria 2017, the national qualification for the most prestigious professional culinary contest in the world, which took place on 9 November 2017, within the framework of SIHRE at Inter Expo Center - Sofia. In this tough and challenging battle behind the stoves he was assisted by Hristo Filyov from the team of Marinella Hotel Sofia, and his coach - Veselin Kalev, Chef of Rila Hotel in Borovets.

Bocuse D'Or, the world's most prestigious world culinary competition, founded in 1987 by famed French Chef Paul Bocuse, applies the principles of the major sporting events to create a spectacular show with a focus on cooking and cooks. The Bocuse D'Or Bulgaria national qualification is held every two years within the framework of SIHRE. The competition opens the way for Bulgarian culinary talents to the world stage.

There were four competing teams in this year's edition. The prize for the best assistant Chef was taken by the young Veronika Savcheva ,while the second prize was received by Chef Petar Atanassov, Chef of restaurant Leventa in Rousse. The contest Bocuse d'Or Bulgaria 2017 was organized  in open-air kitchenettes  equipped with state -of-the-art professional culinary equipment.

The winner Chef Nichola Nikolov, recognized with his skills at Bocuse d'Or Bulgaria 2017, is 34 years old and now has 17 years of professional experience, five of which he worked with Chef Andre Tokev. At present, Chef Nikolov works at Evian Resort in France - a luxurious hotel, golf and spa complex. He arrived in Sofia only Monday and had only two days to have a live training with his assistant chef and coach. "I went for simpler dishes and elements I know well," commented Nichola Nikolov. "Yet the race was very difficult. Until last minute I did not know if we could succeed. But here speed is of great importance, and the vision,too ... ".

Professional organization

The organization provided by the Bulgarian Association of Professional Chefs and the composition of the jury were at a high level. It was composed of six members, all of them chefs with an impressive professional biography: Jan Smink from the Netherlands, participant and coach at Bocuse d'Or, Chef at Librije -a three Michelin star restaurant, Jonas Lundgren from Sweden, winner of silver award from world Bocuse d’Or, Sweden's coach in the competition, known for his television programs for proper healthy eating and fitness, Henri Donneaux from Belgium, Head Chef Instructor at HRC Culinary Academy, with over 24 years of professional experience around the world, Hugues Boutin from Canada, Head Chef Instructor at HRC Culinary Academy and Chef with a rich international and multicultural experience, Milen Panev, winner of numerous titles from national and international competitions, coach of the Bulgarian team during the 2016 Culinary Olympiad in Germany in Erfurt , as well as Andre Tokev, founder of the Bulgarian Association of Professional Chefs, owner of restaurant Andre and a TV celebrity.

The mission

The task for the participants was to prepare an entree and a main course from haute cuisine, with many complicated elements for 5 hours and 35 minutes, according to a strict regulation and on the basis of predefined basic products. These were Balkan trout "Morski dar", one Legacy Brand whole duck, duck magret and duck liver.

"The requirements of Bocuse d'Or are set for artistic and elaborate meals," said the winner - Chef Nikola Nikolov. "The taste is very important, but also the vision,as well as preparation is of great importance. Here, our trout comes with cauliflower, carrot and Jerusalem artichoke sounds simple, but for example, the Jerusalem artichoke element is a puree made from this root vegetable, with small cubes inside, a nut of pecan, all wrapped in fine strips of the same ingredient ... For me this victory is mostly a big responsibility, because I will represent Bulgaria at Bocuse d'Or Europe in Turin in June 2018. And there is a huge competition. I have to do something exceptional. "