Bocuse d'Or Lyon 2013
Bocuse d´Or Estonia

For a small country cuisine is an important component of cultural diplomacy 23.01.2013

Interview with Dimitri Demjanov, Bocuse d’Or Team Estonia President & Jury Member

Q: What does participation mean for Estonia?  

A: This competition that takes place every two years is an important trend setter in world gastronomy. Willingness to participate is not enough, only countries that are already successful in gastronomy or that show a lot of potential are invited to partake.  When we received the invitation, it was also proof that we had made the right decisions in our training of chefs so far, but of course this was only a minor achievement compared to the challenges that lay ahead. Invitation to participate is a great honor and it means a lot for a small country that is still unknown in the world of gastronomy. Around every chef there is a whole team working and our success creates motivation in other chefs to aspire further. This example should reach all cooking schools. Only this way can we achieve a qualitative jump and create something new and extraordinary ourselves. 

It’s not only the chef’s personal ambitions at stake in the competition; it’s the competing country’s good name and reputation as a well-known gastronomy destination that hang in the balance. Participation in Bocuse d’Or takes vigorous training and specific skills that require a lot of enthusiasm, attention to detail and commitment, and collaboration between many individuals and organizations.

In addition to being a source of inspiration for the next generation of chefs, the international success of Estonian cuisine influences us all; it affects anyone who likes to eat well. When we value our chefs, it makes them more eager to introduce and develop Estonian cuisine on both sides of the border gaining admiration from tourists and locals alike.


Success at Bocuse d’Or should make us more self-confident. We have ample reasons for it as in Brussels in the European semi-finals the Estonian chef passed such well-known figures in world cuisine as Spain, Italy and Luxembourg.


Q: How to become the best chef in the world?

A: In order to become the best, you really have to want to be the best. It takes a lot of hard work and a great team, it is almost impossible to achieve anything solely on your own. Great chefs must have an excellent sense of taste; they must love their work and have passion and dedication for it. The ability to create and maintain a good team is important, but also good communication skills, proficiency and general knowledge about gastronomy, attention to detail, ability to concentrate and see things differently play a huge role.