We had a chance to speak to chef Thilda Mårtensson about Bocuse d'Or, here's what she had to say:
Can you tell us a little about yourself, who is Thilda Mårtensson, apart from when you win best Commis at the Bocuse d'Or Europe 2022?
I am a happy 21-year-old girl who lives in Stockholm, is driven and likes things to happen. Everything I commit to or choose to do, I do 110% until I am done with the matter or achieve the goal. I have played basketball for 12 years and still have a great interest in sports. When I'm not in the kitchen, I'm with friends, working out (gym) or travelling. I like to discover new places both in Sweden and abroad. I love going out to restaurants and eating in my free time, where I get new inspiration, which I can use to create new dishes. Competition is something that I like and in me there is a real competitive person who likes challenges and adventurous things. I am a spontaneous person who does not like when things become monotonous.
I believe in ~ Something can be difficult, but nothing is impossible if you really want it~ Something I try to live by!
Have you participated in many competitions before, which ones?
I have competed in:
Swedish Chef of the Year students 2nd place 2019
Best Commi- Chef of the Year Sweden 2019
San Pellegrino yongchef reginon final (6-7 place out of 15 competitors who were selected in northern Europe) 2019
Bocuse do'r Sweden Commis award 1 place 2020
Gymnasie SM (Nationl Swedish Highschool competition) 1 place 2020
Bocuse do'r Europe 4 place (as commi) 2020
Europe's best Commi i Bocuse do'r europé 2022
How did you get into cooking competitions?
I have always been a competitive person since I was little and played sports. When I was little and learned that you could also compete in cooking, they became a driving force to be able to do it one day. I love to cook and compete and then getting to put together the things you like the most is an obvious choice. I like the challenge when you compete in cooking, that you always stretch the limits and push them further and develop as a chef and in your way of thinking. I have been a student in bocuse do'r for about 3 years as well and also a student of the junior chefs' team and Culinary team where I got a lot of inspiration to want to compete in cooking myself during the period I was at school.
Tell us about what it's like to be part of the Bocuse d'Or, what kind of competition is it and how does it differ from other competitions?
Participating in Bocuse d'or is a dream I've had for a long time, and among the most fun things I've done. Something I long to do again and am locking forward to the Finals in January in Lyon 2023. It´s a special competition, for example, on of the dishes are to be placed on a platter, designed by the team.These platters are displayed among the judges and then the commi and candidate must put the food on a plate from the platter as quickly as possible, so the judges get hot food.
How do you schedule training and make everything fit together with work, family, friends?
It´s long days and you can hardly get your life together for certain periods, but at the same time you do the things you are passionate about and they are a short period where there is an end. My family and friends are equally supportive regardless of whether we don't see each other every day or they go a long time apart, they are always there by phone and are always supportive when I do what I am passionate about.
I manage to get life together. But things is happening 24/7.
What do you need as a competitor for support, e.g. job, friends, family, colleagues, to win?
I need people who are understanding on the situation I'm in, and still be just as supportive. Thats something that I feel I have and I'm very happy and grateful for every single one of family, friends and colleagues! I understand that it can be difficult for them to have me around as I work and some periods more than others, they make me appreciate each person around me even more because they are still there.
Whats next, the final of the Bocuse d'Or is coming soon. How do you set up the training and what is required for you to win?
My immediate goal is for us to win gold in the Bocuse d'or and thats the only goal I see right now and will have my full focus. There are other plans and goals but we will get to them when I am done with Bocuse.
We are testing different garnishes and talk about how we want to lay them out in the future and which ingredients we want to use. Then we will know the first main produce at the end of September, probably. What is required is that people who have done this before get together in a small group and take their shared experiences and pass them on so that the rest of us can learn from them. I believe in us and hope we win gold in January, after a lot of hard work
You don't win Bocuse by yourself, there are many people involved and the team wins together for Sweden.
If someone dreams of competing in the Bocuse d'Or, what tips would you give that person?
Just do it, don't hesitate to apply regardless of whether you are a commi or a candidate, but my tip is to be a "student" or helper in a competition first, so you know a little what you are getting yourself into.
Follow Thildas journey towards Bocuse 2023 @thilda_martensson