Archibald De Prince, sous-chef to the renowned René Mathieu at Château de Bourglinster, will be taking part in the Bocuse d’Or Belgium competition on Sunday.
Bocuse d’or? Does that ring a bell? One of the most prestigious gastronomic awards in the world? Well, Luxembourg, through Belgian chef Archibald De Prince, will be represented at the finals in Belgium this Sunday.
The sous-chef to the famous chef René Mathieu at Château de Bourglinster (La Distillerie, 1 star and the world’s best vegetable restaurant since 2020) is taking part in the prestigious culinary competition.
This is not a trial run for Archibald De Prince, 32, from Arlon, who already tried his luck a year and a half ago. But this time around, the level of his proposal has improved considerably. “When you look at what I presented last time, and what I’ll be presenting on Sunday, it’s nothing like it,” comments the chef.
Indeed. Archibald De Prince has gone into every detail: finesse, precision, perfection, delicate and original flavours, a blend of textures and a stunning visual.
A long-term preparation
“We received the first compulsory component, a poultry dish, the ” ‘coucou de Malines’ associated with seafood” for the main course, with a risotto to serve alongside, in March-April, then the starter “a vegetable millefeuille”, around the end of July. We started brainstorming and training at the end of September”. In other words, ever since then, Archibald De Prince and his team have been spending their days off training: “That means at least 5 hours 35 minutes in the kitchen, because that’s the time allotted for the competition, but you also have to add in all the thinking, tasting, preparations, tests, equipment, etc.”.
A top team
His team on Sunday will be composed of three people: Mario Willems, a partner of René Mathieu with whom he shares a passion for cooking in the company My Roots, and Dario Labate, his commis. “A second assistant will be provided by the organisation, a student from the partner Belgian hotel school,” explains Archibald’s wife, Rachel.
“But my team is so much more than that,” adds the young chef. Without Rachel, and without the unfailing support of René Mathieu, nothing would have been the same,” he thanks.
On 15 November, the candidate’s last training session, KACHEN was able to sample Archibald De Prince’s creations. In the kitchens of the Bourlingster Castle on Wednesday, not a sound could be heard. Everything was done to perfection. In the dining room: the dishes appeared, beautiful and impeccable. A starter (a vegetable millefeuille), and a main course (“coucou de Malines & fruits de mer”) initially laid out “en plateau”, i.e. with an elaborate staging. All distributed in 14 portions (required for the competition).
While the starter, obviously a blessing in disguise for this world-renowned vegetarian restaurant sous-chef, is already of a high standard, the finesse of his dish and, above all, its original flavours, should leave more than one judge in awe. The jury is likely to be made up of several dozen stars…
The compositions will of course remain secret until the competition.
Three candidates, one spot at the European final
On Sunday, there will be three candidates vying to win the Bocuse d’Or Belgium. The winner will go on to the European final in March 2024, in Norway. If they finish in the top 10, they will then compete in Lyon for the Bocuse d’Or Monde, in January 2025, alongside 23 other competitors.
Until then, look out for Archibald De Prince on Sunday!