Swede places second in prestigious cooking contest

Swede places second in prestigious cooking contest
Sweden’s 30-year-old culinary star Jonas Lundgren burnished his reputation and that of his homeland with a second place finish at the 2009 Bocuse d'Or cooking awards on Wednesday.

Lundgren, who currently operates a restaurant in the Norwegian capital Oslo, was edged out by Geir Skeie, a 28-year-old Norwegian who has twice captured chef of the year honours in his home country.

French chef Philippe Mille took third prize in the biannual global contest held in Lyon, France which is often referred to as the Olympic games of cooking.

Lundgren’s award winning dish featured poached cod filled with dill and lemon marinated Norwegian shrimp.

“It’s great. He presented his dish in a fantastic way, with the charm and precision needed in these types of situations,” said Swedish Minister of Agriculture Eskil Erlandsson to the TT news agency.

Erlandsson was hopeful that Lundgren’s success would add to Sweden’s reputation as a budding home for haute cuisine.

“This really boosts my idea that Sweden should become Europe’s culinary capital. It will create jobs and provide new opportunities in every part of Sweden,” he said.

Some 24 chefs from around the world sweated over hot stoves for more than five-and-a-half hours during the contest, creating dishes based on the Scottish Aberdeen Angus Beef, fresh cod, scallops and wild shrimp from Norway.

This is the fourth time a Norwegian chef has won the top prize in just 12 editions of the culinary contest. Norwegian chefs have also captured second place twice, and third place once.

France remains number one in overall awards, capturing the top prize six times and second prize twice over the years.

The gastronomic event takes place in public before supporters from the same countries as the contestants.