The Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) commonly called the “Culinary Olympics”, is the oldest and most prestigious international culinary competition in the world. The competition is held every four years. The first IKA was held in 1900 and included four nations competing in a local cooking contest in Germany. Since then the event has grown to more than 1000 chefs from 50 nations, and has events for individual competitors as well as national, regional, student, and military teams. The next competition will be held this year 2012 between October 5 and October 10 at the Erfurt Messe in Germany.
In April, 6 months before the actual competition, the director of First Gourmet Academy, Chef Mats Loo was invited to Stockholm to observe the preparation to this year’s culinary Olympics. The Swedish culinary team had invited Mats together with other industry members such as chefs, sponsors and culinary celebrities to the head quarters of Electrolux where the Swedish Culinary team has training facilities that is being used for planning and preparation for international culinary competitions around the world.
The Swedish Culinary Team is a world leader and trend setter in competitive cooking with several Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals. Sweden is probably the most successful Culinary Team in the World. Not only today but they have been for the last decade, or even longer.
At the beginning of the training day in April the Swedish coach, Chef Krister Dahl made it very clear that the Swedish culinary team is going to the Culinary Olympics later this year in order to win the gold.
Since the Culinary Olympics is an international competition the management behind the Swedish culinary team was interested in finding out the opinion from a Swedish Chef active in Asia. This is the reason why the director of First Gourmet Academy was invited to this very special event.
“Of course it was very flattering to take part of the preparation to the most important culinary competition ever – The Culinary Olympics” – Mats explains. “I was allowed to observe the preparation in the kitchen as well as sitting down later in the evening in order to taste the actual competition food that will be presented to the judges in October, later this year”, he continues. “But not only that! The chefs in the Swedish Culinary Team were very interested in hearing the opinion of me and the rest of the “tasters”. After the dinner had been served the culinary team sat down and asked of our opinion.”
The menu is supposed to be secret for a few more months in order to be able to make adjustments. This is the reason why there are not so many pictures in this report. “I was asked not to take too many pictures during the event,” Mats explains, “especially of the food.”
As in previous competitions fantastic Swedish raw produce will be used. “We have fantastic products from the Swedish lakes, oceans, forests and farms”, the coach, Chef Krister Dahl said. “It would be crazy not to use them in an important international competition likes this.”
In order to not reveal too much about the food the Swedish Culinary Team will serve at the competition in October, the director of First Gourmet Academy informs the readers of this blog that “Sotad Långa” will be served as an appetizer. This is a type of a Scandinavian cod fish that has been blackened on the outside. This will be served with an oyster sauce and cauliflower. “I actually did find this dish a little too salty – even for my taste” Chef Mats explains.
The main course served was whole roasted venison with potato and a vinegar jus. “This dish was the one that suited me most” Chef Mats continues. “I liked the slightly acidic flavor of the sauce that went very well with the meat as well as the garnishes used”. “However, I actually did find the potato being used a little too salty here as well. Of course the management of the team was informed about my opinion.”
The dessert was an elderberry and blueberry pudding served with meringues. “This one was also very nice” – Mats informs. “However it is a little risky to serve blueberries at a culinary competition being held in Germany. An unwritten old German culinary rule is to not serve any blueberries in a restaurant setting. It is a big risk the team is taking by serving blueberries at the Culinary Olympics since the competition is being held in Germany with many German judges” he explains.
More practice sessions will be done before the proper competitions being held in October later this year. First Gourmet Academy will keep the readers of our blog as well as our facebook friends informed about the preparation and of course the competition itself. In the mean time we are all keeping our fingers crossed for the Swedish Culinary team and wish them good luck at the Culinary Olympics 2012.