Michelin-star Babel’s chef István Veres and his commis Bence Molnár, emerged as winners of this year’s Hungarian final of the Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most prestigious cooking competition, meaning that they will represent Hungary in Europe.
In the final, Veres beat Roland Kelemen (Hunguest Hotel Aqua-Sol, Hajdúszoboszló), Zsolt Haraszti (Société Budapest), Eszter Palágyi (Matild Palace Budapest), Gábor Csik (Caviar & Bull Budapest), and Tibor Huszár (Fenyves Hotel & Conference Center, Balatonfenyves).
The Hungarian final was once again held during SIRHA Budapest, a premium 3-day international HoReCa (Hotel Restaurant Catering) and retail show.
According to gastro-blogger András Jókuti, the competition tasks were of a fish theme, a hot appetizer and a meat theme serving as the main course. The former’s required ingredients were Törley Chardonnay Brut, six whole trouts, and a surprise vegetable (cabbage, beetroot, cauliflower, Jerusalem artichoke, or brown champignon). While the latter’s included seven quails, including liver and heart, and two duck livers. This adds to several additional restrictions; for example, the use of truffles and caviar were forbidden in both dishes.
Veres (left) and Molnér. Image by MTI/Szigetváry Zsolt
Originally from the Transylvanian town of Kézdivásárhely (Târgu Secuiesc), Romania, István Veres worked in a number of top-end restaurants all over Europe before taking over Babel’s kitchen. The restaurant, located in the 5th district’s Piarista Alley, gained its (first) Michelin star in 2019.
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Veres is now due to take part in the European Final, held in Tallinn, Estonia this May, where chefs will have the chance to qualify for the World Final, which is always held in Lyon, France. In the history of the competition, Tamás Széll was the most successful Hungarian chef, who won the European final held in Budapest, then came in fourth in Lyon.
featured image by MTI/Szigetváry Zsolt