France’s proud history of haute-cusine took a knock this week at the annual Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, otherwise known as the World Cup for chefs.
Despite having won the competition the most times over the years, France was unable to even score a place on the podium this year.
After more than five hours of cooking, Norway’s Ørjan Johannessen and his team took the gold for Norway. The United States came second, while Sweden won the bronze medal.
"Everything came good on the day of the competition," the 29-year-old Johannessen told news agency NTB. "There was very little to separate the top three countries."
French candidate Nicolas Davouze finished in seventh place, which would normally be a respectable ranking, but for the fact he was expected to at least make the podium.
At total of 24 chefs competed in the prestigious competition in which contestants are expected to "demonstrate creativity, spontaneity and the mastery of their art."
This year contestants were asked to prepare a guinea fowl dish alongside a fish and vegetable recipe using fario trout.
The competition takes place in front of a live audience of 2,500 people, including hundreds of food critics and writers, with a panel of experts selecting the winner.
The Bocuse D’Or, which takes place in the French city of Lyon, was started by the French chef Paul Bocuse, one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine.
Norwegian chefs have performed strongly in the competition, taking gold five times, a performance beaten only by the French.
French chef Regis Marcon, holder of three Michelin stars and a former winner, testified as to the importance of the competition on a chef’s career.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today, if I hadn’t have made the effort to enrol in the competition,” he said.