It's over a week now since the finals in Lyon and I can't deny how gutted I was on hearing the result. The standard this year was exceptional and there is no way that we'd be able to challenge the Danes but to come 13th was a big disappointment. It was a long way to fall following our performance in Geneva (reaching fourth place) and it isn't a case of what went wrong because as far as we were concerned we'd done enough to be in the top ten.
We had so much optimism and support going into the final that I thought that we could make a big impression this year. I felt confident with my dishes and with my team, Jordan and Nick, who have both been tremendous.
But there have been many positives and we had a great crowd out in Lyon. There might not have been as many Brits as French, Swedes and Americans but those of you who came really did us proud. It was fantastic looking up to see the Union Jacks waving and to hear the horns ... and the chants! It was also a bit of a shock when I heard Katy's voice over the microphone and looked up to see her being interviewed by the American compere. Tansy and Cicely arrived a little later and looked fab with their Union Jack t-shirts and hair ribbons. My whole family have been a great support, my mum and dad drove the ingredients and equipment over and my brother, Christian travelled over to watch. I'm looking forward to having a bit more time to spend with them all now that this is over!
Over the last few months, we've managed to capture the imagination of chefs, professionals and food lovers who are intrigued by the contest. We've had some fantastic exposure in the media and I'd like to thank Amanda Afiya for following our story in Caterer & Hotelkeeper and giving me this blog. Amanda's article in the Jan 21st issue did a great job of summing up what the Bocuse d'Or is about and the front cover wasn't bad either!
We had journalists from the Observer and The Guardian Online out in Lyon and I'm keen to see their take on the event.
In terms of next steps, we (Team UK) have reflected on our performance in Lyon and we're now looking forward to what needs to be done to give us a decent chance next time. I have already offered my services to help give the next candidate a better understanding of the scale of the undertaking. I am also running a Masterclass a Cafe Spice Namaste on February 9th, where I'll be showing the guests how to create my Bocuse d'Or dishes.
There are so many people who have played a part in our journey and I want to thank every one of you. From the major sponsors, Electrolux Professional, Nestlé Professional, Compass Group, Scotch Lamb, Seafood Scotland, Baxter Storey, Unilever Foodsolutions, Hobart, Aubrey Allen and those that donated products, to the chefs who helped me with my dishes and made it down to Torquay for the tastings, to the journalists and supporters out in Lyon to the tweeters and the followers. I know that the result wasn't what we wanted but I hope that you'll be joining us again on the next road to Lyon.