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Aalto students design prizewinning Bocuse d'Or platter

Laura Meriluoto and Klaudia Kasprzak design the flatware for the Finnish team at the biennial world chef championship.
photo: Kim Öhman

At this year's Bocuse d'Or, the world's most prestigious chef competition, the Finnish team won the special platter prize and came in fourth overall, qualifying them for the finals in Lyon in January 2019.

National teams from Norway, Sweden and Denmark took the top three places. For Aalto Department of Design students Laura Meriluoto and Klaudia Kasprzak, the night was also a victory: they designed the plates and platters upon which the food was served. Finland's Bocuse d'Or representative is chef Ismo Sipeläinen.

It was the first time the Finnish Bocuse d'Or competition team co-operated with Aalto University students.

"This was a remarkable achievement for everyone. It was good for the whole team and designers to hear results on the spot. This was a tremendous success to mark our cooperation with Aalto University and young designers," says Bettina Lindfors, Executive Director of ELO, the Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture.
 
The European Bocuse d'Or Qualifiers took place on 11-12 June in Turin, Italy. Twenty countries in total competed from Europe, of which 10 qualified for the 2019 world championship in January.

Design emerges in the competition as one of the tasks is presented with a unique plate especially designed for the competition. The plate task requires that competitors present the cultural identity of their home country, and the competitor's ability to showcase this identity on a food portion affects the scoring.

Plates designed to reflect Finnish nature and aesthetics

It was a uniquely Finnish sense of nature that inspired Laura Meriluoto, BA student and Klaudia Kasprzak, MA student, when designing the plates and bowls for the competition. They used unconventional materials such as birch plywood, glass and copper. The work was supervised by Arabia designer Pekka Paikkari.

"We started thinking about the materials according to the desires of Sipiläinen, and the suggested light color world. He had clear opinions what materials and shapes he liked, so the design started out naturally. Additional decorative features were avoided, so that food itself gets the main attention", the designers say.

"From our point of view, the project was exciting, challenging and interesting. It was made exceptional due to the fact that we had to take into account both the aesthetics and the purpose of the plate. Plain form can already be an argument. In addition, the plate is only used for 15 minutes and during that time the portion will need to be built as smoothly as possible. "

The competition final will take place in Lyon on 28-30 January, 2019

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