I spent some time yesterday with chef David Miller of Savant Fine Dining in Clearwater for a section of our upcoming Food Issue (June 11). You'll read more about this young, impressive chef then, but one tidbit that stuck out was how he made a name for himself through cooking competitions while he was still a teenager. His skill in some of those elaborate contests gained him a free ride to the Culinary Institute of America. To me, the most surprising thing is that he still hungers for the competition and laments the lack of local contests for chefs.
Screw the local stuff, David, why not go back to the big leagues? Uber-chefs Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud will be heading up Team USA in next year's Bocuse D'Or — the most prestigious culinary competition in the world — and they're planning to have an old-school chef-off in Orlando this September to pick a team. Judges will include a who's who of culinary luminaries — Trotter, Batali, Ripert, Colicchio, Pepin and many more — and the competition will be judged on a long list of criteria.
The Bocuse D'Or is named after French culinary icon Paul Bocuse. I met the guy while pouring wine at an event in Sarasota a bout a decade ago. He's a bit of a jerk. Go Team USA!