The Bocuse d’Or 2021 competition starts now, with a celebration - blog by performance psychologist Mike Duckett

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th February 2019

The UK Bocuse d'Or team are back from Lyon, proud to have been ranked 10th in the competition by the world's toughest international team of judges.

190112 BocusePlatter Capture 049

Team UK 2019 Platter copyright Jodi Hinds 2019

As with all competitions, fate or the culinary gods threw challenges at them in both the semi-final in Turin and the final in Lyon. Ovens failed, ingredients they thought were available weren’t, etc. This is all part of the pressure that comes with getting in the ring to box with the world’s best.


UK 2019 candidate chef, Tom Phillips, commis Nathan Lane and culinary coach Adam Bennet had practised under conditions as close as possible to the real ones, including expecting the unexpected!

They had visualised the desired outcome: to maintain focus, they had done their run-throughs with the recorded sounds of the Bocuse audience playing very loud and they had developed the right mindset to work with each other under extreme pressure.


The Celebration


We came tenth and we celebrated that evening – a very important part of the performance!


The preparation for Lyon 2021 starts now, but it’s important to remember to celebrate the successes of this year before we move straight on.

Surprisingly, that team celebration is often missed from many team performances other than sport.

I know more than one restaurant team that has worked hard through a difficult refurbishment or a complete transformation and when it achieved its goal, has just carried on without pausing to look back and celebrate as a team.

Stopping to look back gives the team the energy to move forward again;  just carrying on eventually drains the energy.

A word about that teamwork; time and again you must have heard a winning rider in the Tour de France or an F1 driver – the heroes of the day – praise the whole team behind them who made it possible.

There are so many people who have a role in that performance, that obviously includes the team managers and coaches, but don’t forget the PR and publicity folk; the finance folk; the people who book the hotels and flights; et al.

Everyone with a role to play must play it to their highest standard if the hero is going to come in ahead of the rest. It’s true in sport and it’s true in the Bocuse team – it’s true in your own restaurant.


The Preparation


That was 2019 but the 2021 competition starts now and the first step is a full performance debrief for everyone who has a role to play.

Instead of getting everyone together in one big group, we’ll be grouping people according to which part of the process of winning they play a part in.


With the intention of following in the footsteps of Team Sky and their development of a ‘winning machine’ for cycling events, we’ve been analysing each role and step of bringing those roles together to get the team operating in the ‘zone of flow’, where everyone can be at their best.

Did everyone achieve their goals? Did everyone even have a set of goals? If so, what helped and if not, what got in the way? What will be the goals and milestones for this next competition?

Of course, throughout these meetings we’ll be using optimistic thinking (I’ll return to this another time) and identifying what to focus on i.e. the things we can control - remember, “control the controllables”!

About Mike Duckett 

Mike Duckett has a degree in psychology and is a member of the Occupational Psychology division, the Sports Psychology division & the Coaching Psychology Special Group of the British Psychological Society. He holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy & Cognitive therapy and is a certified NLP coach.

With over 20 years experience he was one of the pioneers of applying performance psychology to coach people in the hospitality industry to get the best from themselves, in areas such as creativity; leadership; optimism etc.

As a certified NLP Coach and ANLP Accredited Master Practitioner, Mike has clients ranging from world renowned chefs, restaurateurs & sommeliers to up and coming staff in both the kitchen and front of house. You can see more of Mike's blogs atcoachforsuccess.wordpress.com

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th February 2019

The Bocuse d’Or 2021 competition starts now, with a celebration - blog by performance psychologist Mike Duckett