Team Estonia competing at the Culinary Olympics

  • 2024-03-20

The European semi-final of Bocuse d'Or, the world’s most prestigious and toughest culinary competition, commenced yesterday, 19 March in Trondheim, Norway, with the first 10 teams entering the competition. Today, 10 more teams will present their creations and Team Estonia will be the first one to start off the day.

Estonia is represented at this year’s Bocuse d’Or by Ivan Derizemlja, a private chef at Rondeau by ID and he is supported by assistant chef Aljona Koch, recently awarded the title of best junior chef 2023. The team is mentored by seasoned Bocuse d'Or coach, chef Emmanuel Wille, who has provided guidance to many previous Estonian candidates, such as Vladislav Dyachuk and Dimitri Haljukov.

Estonian candidate Ivan Derizemlja: "We have been training for more than six months, putting in the hard work, and thus far, everything has gone according to plan. Admittedly, there's a bit of anxiety in the lead-up to the race, but in general, we are feeling very positive."

Ivan has extensive experience in Estonia, working at such restaurants as Peppermint, CRU, and Mosaic. In addition, he has also worked abroad, at a Michelin-starred restaurant Olo in Helsinki, Finland, and also as a chef de partie at the Svinkløv Badehotel restaurant in Denmark.

Team coach, chef Emmanuel Wille: “This year’s compulsory raw materials are quite difficult to handle, but Ivan is truly committed, putting in the time to practice and approaching this task in a creative manner. We have timed our plan like clockwork and we are ready to go into battle."

At the semi-final, teams will have five and a half hours to impress the international jury with two dishes prepared using traditional Nordic products: skrei, a typical Northern European cod, Frøya scallops from Lofoten county, reindeer meat, and LINIE Aquavit, the national spirit of Norway. Team Estonia’s compositions are underscored by sustainability and their main focus is on emphasising local and traditional flavors.

At the European semi-final, the 14-member jury is comprised of representatives from each participating country. Estonia is represented by Herkki Ruubel, a top chef and instructor at the Pärnumaa Vocational Education Centre.

The competition will be livestreamed on the Bocuse d'Or official website:

The project is co-financed by the European Union and the Estonian Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture.