Icelandic Culinary Team
The Icelandic Culinary Team is manned with the country’s most talented chefs. The team’s mission is to be a strong unit with the ability to compete with the most skilled chefs in the world. One of the team’s goals is to be a leading force in strengthening culinary professionalism and interest, increase interest among young people and be an inspiration in Icelandic food culture. The members of the team are all experienced professionals. A number of the team’s members have been successful in culinary competitions, and have a good idea of what it takes to succeed in competitions. The team prepares for each tournament for a whole year, with extensive preparations. Professionalism, accuracy, creativity and a competitive spirit all need to come together for a successful outcome. At the end of the preparation season, the team then competes with the most skillful chefs in the world on behalf of Iceland. That is exactly what the team has been doing recently, preparing for the Culinary World Cup, scheduled to take place in Luxembourg in November 2014.
The Culinary World Cup takes place every four years. Around 700 of the world’s most skillful chefs from close to 40 countries come together to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. Each team consists of six members; chefs and a confectioner, as well as assistants. The teams bring their own ingredients and equipment from home to compete in two categories – the CULINARY ART TABLE and the HOT KITCHEN. The team with the highest combined score is crowned World Champions.
The Culinary Art Table consists of food that is prepared for the sole purpose of exhibiting, with emphasis on elegance and the perfect practice in preparation and presentation. The table is a piece of art where over 30 courses are set up and exhibited cold, even though a part of them look like they’re warm. The exhibition table is also adorned by a chocolate or sugar statue, up to 100 centimeters in height. The courses need to look perfect on the plate for several hours. For that to be possible, a thin layer of gel is applied to the food for protection. The scores are calculated from the general look of the plates, innovation in presentation, plate composition, professional preparation and serving.
The Hot Kitchen competition revolves around creating a three course meal that can be served to 110 guests at a restaurant. The courses must be prepared from scratch and served on plates from the competitive kitchen. The team has six hours to prepare an entrée, main and dessert. A restaurant is set up at the competition venue, where the guests are seated at a certain time. The judges then observe the competing teams in the kitchen, randomly selecting 10 dishes for grading, so it is important that the courses keep the same quality during the whole time. The judges look at everything from efficiency and workmanship to organization and teamwork in the kitchen, although the deciding factor is always the taste and presentation of the courses.
The Chefs Club is the owner and operator of the Icelandic Culinary Team. The Club was founded in 1972 and has participated in the Culinary World Cup for the last 30 years. The purpose and aim of the Chefs Club is to promote knowledge about food and food preparation for the profession. The Club represents all Icelandic chefs with the NKF (Nordic Chefs Association) and the WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies). The Chefs Club hosts the Chef of the Year competition and sends competitors to the annual Nordic Chef competition, as well as operating a fellowship of young chefs in Iceland.