Though Americans have a long history of full-on dominations and come-from-behind victories at the Olympics, when it comes to the Bocuse d'Or -- the culinary equivalent of a world championship -- we haven't even sniffed bronze.
Fresh off its latest defeat this January, the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation has announced that they have begun accepting applications for their candidate for the Bocuse d'Or 2013.
The Board of Directors, led by Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse, have been clear in recent years that it's medal-or-bust, but the highest we've placed is sixth (in 2003 and 2009). This year, James Kent from New York's Eleven Madison Park placed tenth.
To get a sense of the competition, you can watch videos of the two-day competition, which show Kent plating ludicrously complicated food in front of a crowd chanting "U-S-A!" and waving a sea of flags. The competition has only gotten louder and more raucous since the Mexican delegation arrived in 1997 with foghorns, cowbells and a mariachi band.
Potential chefs must have at least three year's of experience in a fine dining restaurant, American citizenship, and be 23 by the first day of competition in 2013. From the pool of applicants, 12 chefs will be chosen to bring their assistants to a September audition, judged by a panel including Boulud and Keller.
Applications are available on the Bocuse d'Or USA homepage.