Bocuse d'Or Lyon 2013
Bocuse d´Or Estonia

Estonian Chef Competing among World Leaders in Culinary Arts 27.01.2013

The chef of restaurant Egoist, Heidy Pinnak, and her 9 member team set off to France to compete for the top prize at the most renowned haute cuisine contest in the world- the Bocuse d’Or.


The competition takes place on 29th and 30th January in Lyon, the home town of the legendary chef Paul Bocuse. The competition that takes place every two years, has also been called the Chef Olympics as only the best of the best from all over the world have passed on to the final round to compete.


Chefs from 24 countries and 5 continents meet at the final; Heidy Pinnak is the only female candidate amongst them. She guaranteed her seat at the final at the European qualifiers that took place in Brussels last spring passing such well known culinary countries as Italy, Spain and Luxembourg.


In addition to Heidy, the Estonian team includes her coach Ragnar Ómarsson and the young and talented sous chef Ari Gunnarson, both from Iceland. During 5 and a half hours Pinnak has to deliver both a meat and a fish platter. The compulsory ingredients this year include Irish steer beef fillet with chick steak, cheek and tail and the fish menu revolves around turbot and lobster.


The Estonian competition entry, inspired by the famous Danish film, is called Babette’s Feast. As the selection of sauces and side-dishes is left up to the individual contestants, the team will use several ingredients typical to the Nordic countries. The competition platter will also feature such Estonian ingredients as the local potato variety “Jõgeva kollane”, Vana Tallinn liquor, quail eggs, vegetables and rye bread. Juniper berries are used to season the meat dish, the fish will get its smoky taste from the aroma of pine shoots. “I want to show that Estonia has a lot to offer to the world in terms of local chefs and local cuisine inspired by local ingredients. I hope that this will encourage young Estonian chefs to aspire high, value local traditions and recreate them,” says Pinnak, who has been intensively training for the competition for over a year.


One of the jury members is also Dimitri Demjanov, the man behind the Culinary Institute of Estonia and Bocuse d’Or Estonia, and the only member from Estonia at the Académie Culinaire de France. “Bocuse d’Or is our best chance to put ourselves on the world map as a serious gastronomy country. The top-level chefs competing here determine the culinary trends that influence regional national cuisines and therefore local tourism. In cultural diplomacy just as in love, the way to one’s heart is through the stomach,” Demjanov says. Paul Bocuse himself, who will soon celebrate his 87th birthday, is also an honorary member of the jury.


The set of ceremonial dishes that the Estonian team headed by Chef Pinnak uses to present the final entries was created in cooperation with the artists from the Jewelry and Blacksmithing Department of the Estonian Academy of Arts.


Estonia will compete on the second day, on January 30th. In this semi-final Estonia will face such returning champions and advocates of New Nordic Cuisine as Norway and Denmark. More than 50 local fans have promised to come and cheer for the Estonian team at the spot. The live broadcast from the event will air on January 30th from noon to 7.30pm at HERE! .


Until the beginning of the competition, everyone can vote for their favourite poster at here.  The Estonian poster and menu was designed by the agency The Division.


Estonia was first invited to the most followed culinary contest in 2008. The Estonian representative Vladislav Djachuk scored 7th in the European semi-finals and came in 15th in the final among the world’s top chefs.


Estonian participation is supported by Enterprise Estonia from the resources of the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund, Ministry of Agriculture, Liivimaa Lihaveis, Segers Eesti OÜ, The Division, AS Dunker, AS Liviko, AS Prike and Culinary Institute of Estonia


Additional information

Dimitri Demjanov

+372 5196 1097