Let the games begin.
On Saturday, the opening ceremonies for the IKA Olympiade der Köche
were held —known stateside as the Culinary Olympics — every four years, and convening in 2008 in Erfurt, Germany. The ceremony introduced the national teams, representing forty-two different countries; also in attendance were sixteen student teams (with all participants under twenty-three years old) and ten military teams, who will be competing in their own divisions.
On Sunday, the chefs hit the kitchens, where the work began. Eight countries entered the Restaurant of Nations, in which each team presents a three-course meal; in just five hours and competing chefs must create these dishes from scratch, serving a crowd of 110, including the expert jury. Meanwhile, eight other groups began the formidable Cold Display competition, in which original dishes both hot and cold are plated for display, judged by presentation and, of course, taste. This display must include hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, a cold buffet platter, a vegetarian platter, five appetizers and a three-course meal—along with petits fours and plated desserts.
The American team, pictured above, should be a strong contender for both these events, having finished third overall at the last Olympics in 2004. Also highly favored are Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden. While none of these teams cooked this weekend, the American competitors will don their chef hats for the Cold Display, with their time in the Restaurant of Nations to follow.
The competition doesn’t stop at these two events. Still to come is the Tafel Kult, in which teams craft table settings and restaurant décor, as well as the military field competition.
The games have begun!