San Diego Chef To Represent Team USA At Bocuse D'Or "Olympics Of Cooking" Competition

September 4, 2023

The former longtime chef de cuisine of San Diego's three Michelin-starred Addison restaurant has won the chance to represent Team USA at the Bocuse d'Or World Culinary Competition, which is frequently referred to as the "Olympics of Cooking."

On Sunday, September 3, 2023, at The Culinary Institute of America at Copia campus in Napa, CA, three United States chefs faced off to see who would go on to represent Team USA at the Bocuse d’Or Americas contest and possibly the biennial Bocuse D'Or cooking competition in France. San Diego Chef Stefani De Palma and her assigned Commis chef, who must be 22 years of age or younger, came out victorious. Chef De Palma beat out Chefs Vincenzo Loseto and Angus McIntosh. Chef Devin Knell, who is the Culinary Director at Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, was De Palma's coach for the competition. 

De Palma worked in the kitchen of San Diego's famed Addison restaurant from when she was 19 years-old until she departed the restaurant last year just weeks after Addison was awarded the highest tier of three stars for Michelin Guide California 2022. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, De Palma worked at various positions within the 3-Michelin Star restaurant, including as chef de partie, chef tournant, pastry sous chef, sous chef, and as chef de cuisine from 2016 until her departure in December 2022.

Since 2008, the Ment’or Foundation has gathered the best young talent in America to effectively train for the privilege and honor of representing the United States at the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France. Team USA is chosen through a national selection process that mimics the format and atmosphere of the Bocuse d’Or competition that is held in Lyon biennially. Chefs from around the United States apply to compete in the Team USA National Selection Event.
Chef Stefani De Palma and her former boss, Addison Chef William Bradley
After winning the Team USA National Selection Event, Chef De Palma and her Commis Bradley Waddle will now train full time in Napa, California during the course of a year, guided by Ment’or Chefs Daniel Boulud, Gavin Kaysen, and Thomas Keller. Around June 2024, the American countries will come together and compete at Bocuse d’Or Americas. The top 5 in that competition will then move on to compete in the main event in Lyon, France, in 2025. Team USA has been participating in this international event since 1987 and has achieved notable success with Chef Philip Tessier securing the Silver Medal in 2015 and Chef Mathew Peters winning the Gold Medal, for the first time, in 2017.

The Bocuse d'Or is a biennial world chef championship that was founded in 1987. Named after legendary French chef Paul Bocuse, the event takes place during two days near the end of January every other year in Lyon, France, at the SIRHA International Hotel, Catering and Food Trade Exhibition. It is considered as one of the world's most prestigious cooking competitions and is frequently referred to as the gastronomy equivalent of the Olympic Games.