TIME Food & Drink

Here’s Why Americans Who Love British Chocolate Are Freaking Out

Chocolate Production Continues At Cadbury During Hostile Takeover Bids
Cadbury's Creme Eggs move down the production line at the Cadbury's Bournville production plant Christopher Furlong—Getty Images

A lawsuit brought by Hershey's is keeping British-made Rolos and Cadbury Eggs out of the U.S.

Thousands of Rolo, Cadbury and Toffee Crisp lovers in the U.S. have signed a petition protesting a lawsuit that threatens the importation of British chocolates into the United States.

As the result of a lawsuit brought by Hershey in August, Let’s Buy British Imports (LBB) has agreed to stop importing popular British chocolates into the United States.

While Cadbury won’t disappear completely from American shelves, it’ll be the chocolate manufactured by Hershey, which has a licensing agreement to market products made in the U.S. under the Cadbury name. The Hershey recipe has a lower fat content, a less creamy texture and, British chocolate fans insist, an inferior taste.

The news isn’t likely to affect American consumers who buy their Cadbury Creme Eggs from supermarket chains (which have sold the American recipe for years), but lovers of the British variety are incensed.

“Due to legal action by the so-called chocolate maker Hershey’s, we can no longer import the real Cadbury chocolate from England,” Tea & Sympathy, a New York shop specializing in British goods, wrote on its Facebook. “They want us to sell their dreadful Cadbury approximation but we can’t in good conscience sell you such awful chocolate when we have made our reputation on selling you the yummy real English stuff.”

The New York Times reports that various British treats will disappear altogether from American shelves because consumers may confuse them with competing American chocolates. The Toffee Crisp bar has orange packaging similar to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Yorkie chocolate bars allegedly infringe on York peppermint patties.

TIME beauty

5 Ways to Improve Your Skin Through Food

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Yes, you are welcome to use food on your skin

As anyone who’s broken out after a late-night drinking and pizza binge can attest, diet is clearly linked to skin condition. But there’s so much conflicting information about how to manage your diet for the most beautiful skin possible, as well all kinds of wacky DIY recipes (we’ll pass on the mayonnaise face mask, thank you very much). To get some clarity, FWx spoke to nutrition expert and esthetician Britta Plug, who helps clients overhaul their diets and skincare routines at Brooklyn’s Treatment by Lanshin. Here, she debunks beauty myths and calls out natural health trends to look for in 2015.

1. Eat Less Inflammatory Foods
The biggest culprit are inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten and sugar. If you’re having issues with your skin, those are foods to experiment with eliminating. Try taking them out for two weeks and see if that has any effect. Also, when you bring those foods back in your body will have a more heightened reaction, so you can see how they affect you—gas, bloating, headaches, whatever the symptoms are for you. If you’re eating them all the time, your body has more of a low-grade reaction. We all have varying tolerance levels, but those foods are the general culprits.

2. Only Eat High Quality Dark Chocolate
I used to think the advice about chocolate [making you break out] was a myth, but since I’ve started working with an acupuncturist, I’ve been incorporating a lot of Chinese medicine into my practice, and there is something behind the idea that chocolate can be inflammatory. But we’ve also been exploring the benefits of high quality dark chocolate for cystic acne. It depends on the person.

3. Invest in a Good Probiotic
Gut health and skin health are really tightly linked. Probiotics are huge. High quality probiotics, in capsule form, are great, as are fermented foods like kimchi. People often say to me, “Well I eat a lot of yogurt.” But you have to be eating whole milk, low sugar yogurt to get the benefits, and you first want to make sure you’re not sensitive to dairy. That’s why I really recommend sauerkraut and kimchi.

If you start taking a high quality probiotic, you’ll usually notice a pretty big difference—you will go to the bathroom more often! You want to start with just once a day, and then work up to the recommended dosage. All probiotics are labeled by what they contain, but it can be tricky to make sure you’re getting quality ones, even from a health food store. It’s best if you can pay a visit to a functional medicine practitioner. I don’t officially endorse them, but I use Dr. Mercola probiotics often in my practice.

4. Use Food on Your Face
While eating yogurt can by iffy if you’re sensitive to dairy, it’s great for using as a mask. It’s a little acidic and it’s nourishing, plus strengthens the flora of the skin.

I am a huge fan of using honey on the skin. It’s an amazing cure-all. Any honey is great, but Manuka honey in particular just works miracles for any skin type. It’s full of vitamins so it’s great for acne and anti-aging. I especially love it for after sun-care. To make a mask, mix about half a teaspoon of honey and mix it with half a teaspoon of warm water, and just spread it onto your skin and leave on for as long as you can before rinsing off. I’ve definitely fallen asleep with honey mask on and woken up stuck to my pillowcase. Manuka honeys are all labeled with a UMF rating, the Unique Manuka Factor. The higher the UMF, the better. I think 16+ is the highest I’ve seen.

5. Experiment with Charcoal and Sandalwood
Charcoal has always been big for the skin, but I’ve been seeing a lot of charcoal drinks coming out, like charcoal lemonades. It can be helpful if you need a detox. For example, if you’re gluten intolerant and accidentally ingest gluten, you can take a charcoal capsule to rebalance your gut.

Sandalwood is also something we’re going to be seeing a lot more of, in things like skincare oils. All essential oils are healing, and sandalwood is especially helpful for getting circulation going for healing. In Chinese medicine it’s referred to as a “blood mover,” so it can be great for congested or acne prone skin.

One Important General Tip: Don’t Strip Your Skin
I think one of the biggest mistakes I see people making is overwashing and scrubbing their skin. I recommend just cleansing once a day, at night, to remove any makeup and pollution from your skin. Then, just rinse with water in the morning. And keep your routine fairly simple.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Cookies That Are Actually Pretty Good For You

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These cookies come with surprising amount of nutritional benefits

Unless you’re bent on eliminating sweets from your diet (and we know a doctor who thinks you shouldn’t), you’ll agree that almost any dessert can be healthy when consumed in moderation. But we can do better. Here, five recipes for delicious cookies that pack legit nutritional benefits.

1. Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies with Flax
Flax seed meal and whole flax seeds add nutritional value to these gooey oatmeal raisin cookies.

2. Chocolate Coconut Snap Cookies
There’s no butter in these ultra-chocolaty cookies. Instead, the recipe calls for coconut oil.

3. Chewy Cinnamon-Spelt Cookies with Sea Salt
A vegan twist on the classic snickerdoodle, these cookies are ultra-chewy with crinkly sugary tops.

4. Cocoa Nib-Almond Lace Cookies
Coconut oil, cocoa nibs and sliced almonds combine together to make these lace cookies extra crispy. They’re rich and butter (yet butterless) and full of almond flavor.

5. Gluten-Free Strawberry and Chia Seed Newton Cookies
These gluten-free cookies have a delicious filling of dried fruit, strawberry jam and chia seeds.

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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The Easiest Way to Make Homemade Hash Browns

Attaining the perfect, even crust while keeping the center of the potatoes tender isn’t easy

 

There’s nothing better than super-crispy hash browns for brunch. But attaining that perfect, even crust while keeping the center of the potatoes tender isn’t easy—until now. Because F&W Test Kitchen genius Justin Chapple has an easy shortcut. Watch the video above to see how to make the best hash browns of your life with a waffle iron.

For more great cooking tricks and tips, watch all of F&W’s Mad Genius Tips videos.

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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How to Roast Your Own Coffee at Home

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Follow these simple instructions on how to roast your own beans

Once you master the art of the pour-over, the next step in coffee nerdery is to start roasting your own beans. But it’s the sort of thing that can sound intimidating at first. Lots of coffee drinkers may have never even seen green, unroasted coffee beans. Others might assume you need a dedicated roasting machine that can run over $1,000. You don’t. You don’t even need to spend $30.

Coffee fiend Ruth Brown’s new book, Coffee Nerd: How to Have Your Coffee and Drink It Too, has everything you could want to know about coffee, from its history to tasting notes to which espresso drinks you should care about (and which you absolutely should not).

It also has incredibly simple instructions on how to roast your own beans using equipment you almost certainly have on hand: an oven (preferably gas) and a baking sheet.

Just beware of the coffee-roasting rabbit hole. You might turn into a fanatic. As Ruth points out, “If regular coffee nerds were Trekkies, homeroasters would be the people who write Star Trek fan fiction.”

Here’s how to do it.

Gas Oven Roasting — From Coffee Nerd

You need a small amount of green beans (1 pound typically costs between $5 and $10), a perforated baking pan (if you don’t have one, a kitchenware store or your great-aunt will) and a metal colander. You might also want to crack open a window or 10 for this—there will be smoke.

1. Preheat the oven to 500° (or 450°, if it is a convection oven).

2. Spread a single layer of beans across the pan (only the perforated part of it).

3. When the oven is ready, place the pan onto the middle shelf.

4. You should start to hear the first crack somewhere around 7 minutes (maybe more in a convection oven), and you should be able to see that the beans are turning brown.

5. Wait at least a couple more minutes, then either take the tray out (use oven mitts!) or wait a few more minutes until the beans are almost at the color you desire (they will continue to roast for a bit after you take them out, so don’t wait too long).

6. Dump the beans into your colander. Stand over a sink or go outdoors, and shake them around. This will cool them down and get rid of the chaff (the little bits of parchment that didn’t get removed at the mill), which can get pretty messy. The faster you can cool your beans off, the better.

If your interest is piqued, Ruth recommends ordering green beans from Sweet Maria’s and Roastmasters. And to find out what else she has to say about coffee, you can find Coffee Nerd here.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME Food & Drink

4 Affordable Cheeses That Taste Expensive

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Choose from these four brilliant European cheeses and their less expensive American doppelgängers

Imagine a serious sushi bar, but instead of rare raw fish they serve the world’s greatest cheeses. They have paper menus and pencils to check off the cheeses you want to try, and there’s even an omakase option. If that sounds fantastic (and it does to us), you should plan on visiting Portland, OR, in February. That’s when resident cheese guru and Cheese Bar proprietor Steve Jones will open Chizu, his intriguing new restaurant dedicated to a carefully curated selection of his absolute favorite cheeses. The idea, Jones says, is to expose cheese lovers to the best of the best. “It’s a way to sample cheeses that might otherwise be unattainable,” he says. “You might not be able to afford a whole wedge, but you can handle a 1-ounce portion for six or seven bucks.”

Of course, dropping into Chizu won’t be an option for every budget-minded cheese fanatic in the country. So we asked Jones to share his favorite pricey, much-lauded cheeses and their cheaper, more accessible counterparts. Here, four brilliant European cheeses and their less expensive American doppelgängers.

Splurge: Vacherin Mont d’Or
“It’s the Mount Everest of cheese that everyone always asks for,” Jones says. “It has a lot of smoky, bacon-fatty notes. There’s a really creamy funk to it.” A raw cow’s milk washed rind cheese, made in Switzerland and France, the Mont d’Or is highly seasonal and sold in round boxes made of spruce bark.
Save: Jasper Hill Winnimere
“This is a great American knockoff,” Jones says. “You still get a lot of the smoky, bacon fat notes, but with the Winnimere you get more of the spruce bark flavor. And there’s a real bright fruity flavor—almost like mulberries.”

Splurge: Brabander
“This is a new, premium goat gouda from Southern Holland,” Jones says. “Mongers are nuts for it. It’s super-super tasty. It has a big sister called Black Betty, which is a super-premium version of it aged for two years. They’re both really sweet and coconutty.”
Save: Central Coast Creamery Goat Gouda
“It’s a really nice cheese,” he says. “You get the same sweet, coconutty notes for considerably less money.”

Splurge: Ubriaco alla Birra Rossa
Translated from Italian, the cheese’s name means “dunk of red beer.” “It’s an aged cheese from northeastern Italy,” Jones says. “It’s aged and immersed in barrels of red beer. The cheese itself is sweet with a nice beer-y tang to it.”
Save: Sartori Bellavitano
“This American take out of Wisconsin is washed in the New Glarus raspberry beer,” he says. “It is a touch fruitier, with tart, lambic notes, and it’s about a third cheaper.”

Splurge: Caerphilly
A famed Welsh cheese, Caerphilly is crumbly like cheddar but with a much more unique flavor. “It’s tangy, lactic and creamy,” Jones says. “It’s the kind of cheese that you want to eat a lot of. You just want to sit down with a beer and go at it.”
Save: Cascadia Creamery Cloud Cap
“Made in Trout Lake, Washington, the Cloud Cap is very Caerphilly-esque,” he says. “It’s a terrific take on a European classic but with more wild garlic notes coming through.”

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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The Insanely Easy Way to Poach a Dozen Eggs at Once

All you need is a muffin pan and a dozen eggs

 

There’s nothing more impressive than serving friends a brunch featuring runny-yolked, perfectly poached eggs. But if you’re cooking for a crowd, there’s a problem: The classic technique only allows for poaching one or two eggs at a time. Thankfully, F&W Test Kitchen maestro Justin Chapple has a solution in the latest episode of Mad Genius Tips season two. All you need is a muffin pan, a dozen eggs and a half-dozen friends to dazzle with your show-offy Benedict skills. Watch the video above to learn this super-easy technique.

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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These Are the Best New Restaurants in the World

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Tetsuya Miura

In 11 of the world’s most compelling food capitals, neo-traditionalists, upstart iconoclasts, and ingredient obsessives are setting new culinary standards

Turn off Istanbul’s frenetic Istiklal Street, and pull up a seat at Yeni Lokanta, the modern meyhane of the moment. Chef Civan Er’s small plates feature heirloom Turkish foodstuffs like “burnt” Denizli yogurt atop green beans and beef ribs roasted in a wood-burning oven.

In seeking out the best new restaurants, we peripatetic editors at Travel + Leisure were hungry for more than just great meals. We were holding out for locales like Yeni Lokanta that serve up a distinct sense of place—ones that help travelers tap into the essence a destination. Our resulting list of favorites will direct you to the newcomers that are shaping the restaurant scenes in the world’s most exciting food cities.

In Mexico City, for instance, you can get a sampling of all the D.F.’s latest food trends by stopping into the stylishly casual food hall Mercado Roma. Hop from one kitchen to the next, snacking on chile-spiked pozole, clam and chorizo stew, and squid torta.

Philadelphia has become one of America’s most exciting food cities, and you’ll appreciate why after dining at Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook’s Dizengoff, where even the chickpea purées are memorable, especially when topped with zucchini and za’atar.

We found notable restaurants that run the gamut of dining experiences, from a posh new spot in London’s Claridge’s hotel—Fera, an ode to British terroir by star chef Simon Rogan—to a humble noodle joint on a Tokyo backstreet.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles food revolution that kicked off a few years ago is gathering strength, powered by unrivaled California produce, daring young chefs, a United Nations of ethnic cuisines, and, yes, a dash of Hollywood glamour. While most TV celebrity chefs are peddling overpriced comfort food, Curtis Stone, the Australian heartthrob ofTop Chef Masters fame, has caused a sensation with his thoughtful and utterly original Maude, in Beverly Hills. In the chic, rustic space, Stone presents multicourse market menus themed around a single ingredient. Fall pears show up as “snow” atop briny oysters and as a gelée highlighting a veal cheek; in winter he celebrates citrus with tangerine-glazed chicken terrine. We love the tables, set with vintage silver and china and inspired by the kitchen of Curtis’s own grandmother, Maude. Among the city’s rising stars: Kris Yenbamroong, the Thai wunderkind with an NYU film degree, who counted the likes of René Redzepi and Wylie Dufresne among fans of his pop-up dinners. At Night & Market Song, his permanent Silver Lake digs (both spare and ironically garish), he presents hyper-vivid, authentic northern Thai dishes like grilled pork neck with a bracingly spicy jaew chile dip, and hor ab, an intensely aromatic tamale of catfish and pork fat in a banana-leaf bundle. Along La Brea Avenue, the soaring 1929 building that housed onetime celebrity haunt Campanile has been reborn as the even more gorgeous République. Headed by Walter and Margarita Manzke, the brasserie stays open around the clock, whether for an early-morning blood-orange brioche or a late-night negroni blanc, scrambled eggs with sea urchin on toast, and the best frites west of Paris.

Istanbul

This megalopolis has always charmed us with its mix of waterside fish restaurants, smoky kebab joints, and drinking dens known as meyhanes serving sumptuous meze. But lately, local chefs and glamorous out-of-towners alike have been invigorating the restaurant scene. Massimo Bottura, Italy’s most famous chef, debuted his first outpost, Ristorante Italia, at the posh Zorlu shopping center. Instead of reprising hits from his avant-garde Osteria Francescana in Modena, the chef presents thoughtful distillations of pan-Italian classics: an osso buco cooked at a super-low temperature for 25 hours with bone marrow enriching the sauce, or a deconstructed tiramisu so light it practically floats off the table. Off frenetic Istiklal Street, tile-clad Yeni Lokanta is the modern meyhane of the moment. We’re dazzled by chef Civan Er’s small plates, updated with heirloom foodstuffs like “burnt” Denizli yogurt atop green beans, walnut-studded sucuk sausage, and beef ribs roasted in a wood-burning oven. And in the gentrifying Balat district, Turkish film director Ezel Akay has resurrected the iconic 125-year-old Agora Meyhanesi, where raki flows once again and the herb- and pomegranate-laced salads, flash-fried petals of liver, and sizzling squid set a new standard for meze.

New York City

Though the city’s high-voltage restaurant scene assures thrills for all wallets and moods, our favorites now are places with focused menus and big personalities. Downtown glamour meets uptown polish—with nostalgic echoes of Mitteleuropa—at Bâtard, from über-host Drew Nieporent and Austrian chef Markus Glocker. An octopus “pastrami,” bewitched into a Gaudí-like mosaic terrine, and hand-pulled strudel filled with apples, raisins, and sweetbreads are among Glocker’s assured neoclassical dishes. Having first triumphed in Tokyo, the Long Island–born noodle master Ivan Orkin set up the lively Ivan Ramen on Clinton Street, where he creates witty Japanese-American mash-ups like Amish-scrapple waffles masquerading as okonomiyaki pancakes. Which dish wins? It’s a toss-up between the triple-garlic, triple-pork mazemen, with compulsively slurpable whole-wheat noodles, and the rye-enriched ramen in a sinus-clearing red-chili broth. In the East Village, Huertas, a Basque gem from two young veterans of the Danny Meyer hospitality school, seduced us with its enticing tapas—plush jamón croquetas, adorable shrimp-and-egg canapés—as well as chef Jonah Miller’s tasting menu, with its earthy-sweet pairing of cockles and wild mushrooms, and suckling pig served with an Asturian bean-and-chorizo stew. Meanwhile, Danny Meyer himself has an instant classic, the new Roman-themed Marta. It’s the convivial scene behind the long marble counter that wooed us, along with the wafer-thin pizzas and perfectly grilled lamb chops. And isn’t it nice to bond with a stranger over glasses of Fruilian Ribola Gialla?

Mexico City

Ever since the avant-garde fireworks at restaurants like Quintonil and Pujol established Mexico City as one of the world’s top food destinations, the D.F. has been looking inward, with humbler cooking that explores the country’s own food traditions. Alejandro Ruiz, the powerhouse chef from Oaxaca who revitalized that region’s food scene, opened Guzina Oaxaca in Polanco. His menu is both anthropological and sensual, with dishes like caldo de piedra, a pre-Hispanic shrimp soup cooked over hot river rocks and perfumed with anise-y hoja santa and epazote. In gentrifying Zona Rosa, behind the cheery turquoise façade of De Mar a Mar, seafood whisked in from Baja and Puerto Ángel is the star of the menu devised by Pujol-trained Eduardo García. Everything at this lovable urban beach shack is so tasty it’s impossible to stop ordering more sashimiesque tuna laminado and sweet battered shrimp folded into hand-patted tortillas. To try everything that’s going on in the city at once, head to Colonia Roma. It’s a blast perching on stools and sampling from each kitchen at Mercado Roma: chile-intensive pozole from José Guadalupe, a stew of pristine Pacific coast clams and chorizo from La Ahumadora, and La Barraca Valenciana’s squid torta with garlicky mayo created by El Bulli veteran José Miguel Garcia.

Sydney

Australia’s largest metropolis may have a reputation for the big, the obvious, and the showy, but the city’s restaurants have recently taken a turn toward the small, the unusual, and the understated. Mitch Orr, an alumnus of Italy’s vaunted Osteria Francescana, creates house-made pastas at Acme and prepares them in ways your nonna never imagined. That might mean linguine given a wok-like scorch with black garlic and burnt chiles or Filipino-inspired vinegar-tangy pork topped with a raw yolk and paired with immaculate hand-cut macaroni. In Redfern, a neighborhood on the rise, Eun Hee An and Ben Sears have traded the white tablecloths of their fine-dining backgrounds for spare furnishings and concrete floors at Moon Park. What the restaurant may lack in design it more than makes up for with its witty reimagining of Korean cuisine. Is that a glimmer of Scandinavia in that ssäm wrap of smoked eel and puffed rice presented on a nasturtium leaf? Or in the classic pajeon pancake topped by tufts of mackerel “floss”? In another nod to the Far East, the rambunctious, izakaya-inspired Cho Cho San is Sydney’s love letter to Japan: chef Nic Wong’s lamb cutlets are spiked with sancho pepper, and the gingery tatakiis made with prime Australian beef. Sydney’s go-to restaurant of the moment is inarguably Ester, a low-key spot where Mat Lindsay coaxes morsels of surprising elegance and originality from his wood-fired oven: lobster sausage on steamed bread updates the classic Aussie sausage sandwich with great success, not least when it’s paired with Si Vintners’ lovely pale Pinot Noir Rosé.

Read the full list HERE.

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Thanks to KFC’s New Hot Dog Wrapped in Fried Chicken, Gluttony Has Never Been So Easy

We're all doomed

KFC’s Double Down Dog is as real as it is terrifying.

The hot dog wrapped in a fried chicken patty is currently a special promotion that’s only offered in the Philippines.

To help build buzz, KFC provides only 50 Double Down Dogs Monday to smiling — still breathing — customers at select stores:

Lucky number 9 goes to Daisy! She's all smiles while enjoying the #NewKFCDoubleDown at Fort Triangle.

A photo posted by KFC Philippines (@kfcphilippines) on

Even though the over-the-top snack is already a source of Internet derision, it’s just the latest in a line of gluttonous fast-food trends.

KFC Korea offers a Zinger Double Down that puts a bacon cheeseburger between two pieces of fried chicken:

And other forms of the Double Down sandwich have existed in the U.S.

There are hot-dog-stuffed pizza crusts, waffle-wrapped tacos, macaroni and shrimp burgers.

The world is doomed.

TIME Food & Drink

Meet the Chef Representing Team U.S.A. at the Olympics of Cooking

Skylar Stover (L) and Philip Tessier (R) will compete on Jan. 27 in the celebrated Bocuse d'Or. The ment’or BKB Foundation

The competition kicks off Jan. 27

While millions of Americans tune in to reality competitions like MasterChef Junior and The Taste, few are aware that the biggest championship in cooking is about to take place: the Bocuse d’Or, widely considered the Olympics of haute cuisine.

Every two years, chefs from around the world converge in Lyon, France, to prove their prowess to an exacting panel of judges. Each team of one chef and one commis (or assistant) cooks the same meat and fish — this year, guinea hen and brown trout — and tries to impress the judges with unique presentation and use of secondary ingredients from their home countries. France has won seven times in 14 competitions; an American team has never even taken home the bronze medal.

Naturally, this year’s Team U.S.A. hopes to change that. Philip Tessier, 35, Executive Sous Chef at The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., will be assisted by his commis Skylar Stover, 22, who also works in the kitchen there. Twelve teams will cook for nearly six hours on Jan. 27; another dozen will compete on Jan. 28, with winners being announced at the end. The entire event will be live-streamed.

The pair have spent the last year training intensively for their program, a process that includes everything from honing technique to endurance training at the gym. “I want to look back and know I did everything I possibly could to be ready for it,” Tessier says, “so maintaining a sense of physical discipline is certainly going to be a benefit to us.”

As for planning the actual dishes they will serve, Tessier has had some help from a team of coaches in the Ment’or program, the American organization that selects and trains Team U.S.A. for the Bocuse d’Or. Among the mentors: their French Laundry boss, Thomas Keller, as well as Daniel Boulud and several competitors from previous years.

While many young chefs are eager to strike out and lead their own restaurants, Tessier has always valued the education that comes with working for a great chef. From his culinary beginnings at the Williamsburg Inn in Virginia, to his training at the Culinary Institute of America, to stints in France, to working at powerhouse restaurants like Le Bernardin, Per Se, Bouchon and finally The French Laundry, he’s been satisfied to take his time climbing the ladder. “We have too many students come out of [culinary] school that want to be a sous chef the next day,” he says. “You can do that, but my old chef used to say, ‘I’d rather be at the bottom of the top than the top of the bottom.’ I think that is a great way of saying, take your time to get there.”

This kind of patience and precision will serve him well at the Bocuse, where fastidious technique is valued above all.

Over the last several months, Tessier and his team of mentors have honed their plans for presenting the guinea hen and brown trout. They can use garnishes on both the fish plate and the meat platter — partly with produce provided in Lyon, but ideally also making use of ingredients from their home country. For Danes and Germans, this means shipping fresh fruits and vegetables from just a few hours away, but for the U.S. team, it’s a logistical nightmare.

“Part of the whole thing is they want to see the country represent their country,” Tessier says. “So obviously, the argument is you need your own food to do that. [But] is that mustard flower going to be intact three days later, 5,000 miles away? It’s pretty questionable. That’s our challenge.”

The team did a training run on shipping in November, and the produce held up well, giving them hope that they’ll have similarly good results this month.

Unfortunately, even if Tessier and Stover do beat the odds and place in the top three, the prize may not mean as much back home as it does for their competitors. When former Team U.S.A. chef Gavin Kaysen was at a dinner party in Sweden and his companions found out he’d been in the Bocuse d’Or, they assumed he must be very famous in his country. “Over there,” Tessier says, “when you come home with a bronze, you’re a national hero. It just shows you that reverence for gastronomy and history and tradition is very deeply seeded there — and it’s becoming increasingly so here.”

For Tessier, it may take bringing home a gold medal to finally teach Americans about the high-pressure stage that is the Bocuse d’Or.

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