David L. Daniot placed second in the cold-foods category among 154 chefs in the Villeroy & Boch-sponsored competition in Luxembourg, preparing a four-course meal with appetizers that featured smoked salmon and venison.
David L. Daniot, Executive Chef of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., recently brought home a silver medal after traveling to Luxembourg to compete in the Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup, the Grosse Point News reported.
Daniot placed second among 154 chefs from around the world who competed in his culinary arts category of cold food, the News reported. In all, over 1,000 chefs from 56 countries competed in the once-every-four-years, culinary Olympic-type event that includes 54 international judges and is the second-largest competition of its type, it was noted.
One of the keys to his success in the competition, Chef Daniot told the News, was the decision to take his own food with him overseas. None of the food prepared for the cold-category competition would be tasted by the judges, so it could be prepared prior to the contest, he explained; the judging centered on cooking techniques, ingredient usage and presentation.
So to make sure he would not encounter any difficulties securing the ingredients he would need, the News reported, Chef Daniot prepared his dishes ahead of time at the club and then shipped everything to Luxembourg, “hoping it would make it through [customs] in one big cooler,” he said.
To help the shipment pass through TSA inspection, a list of ingredients was secured to the outside of the cooler indicating it was for display only, and not human consumption, the News reported.
For his entry, Chef Daniot prepared smoked salmon sphere, mushroom consommé encased in Yukon gold potatoes, rabbit roulade and stuffed quail leg as the appetizers. That was followed by a four-course meal of pouch taurine of halibut, autumn plum and goat cheese salad, roast rack of venison, and chocolate symphony torte for dessert.
Though this was his first international competition, Daniot has won more than 15 hot-food competitions during the course of his career, the News reported, which began when his father, also a chef, put him in the kitchen.
“My father was a private chef. He put me in the kitchen at 13 and I never looked back,” said Daniot.
He began his formal culinary arts education at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., earned bachelor degrees from Eastern Michigan University in business management and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in culinary management, and a master’s degree in business administration from South University.
In 2008, he was named the American Culinary Federation’s Central region “Chef of the Year.”
“My favorite [to cook] is wild game, [but] I don’t get the opportunity to work with it a lot, ” Daniot told the News.
Preparing a seasonal menu for the World Cup competition was something that he thoroughly enjoyed, he told the News, especially because it included foods that could be available in Luxembourg in the fall.
He started practicing his menu for the competition in January 2013, Daniot told the News, continuing to perfect and improve each menu item through the summer and fall. “I learned the level of attention is to the detail,” he said.
When the day arrived to set up his display, Daniot said, “I worked for 22 hours straight. I was allowed into the expo [center where the competition was held] at 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. to set up.
“The whole process makes me a better chef and it benefits the membership here,” he said. “I’ve gotten positive feedback.”
The entire experience of the competition, Daniot added, has also made it possible for him to produce high-end meals and to “constantly stay on top of food trends.”