When Damon Wise, the corporate chef for Craft, withdrew his name from the Bocuse dOr semifinalist list today, it caused some confusion for Team USA. Would he be replaced? And if so, by whom? The advisory board isn't going to wait long to find a replacement: "The board will be making an announcement today on who the replacement candidate will be," says Jennifer Pelka, the executive coordinator for Bocuse d'Or USA. Neither Wise nor Craft reps gave any official explanation at the press conference, but we are awaiting comment from Wise. Our guess is that a three-and-a-half-month hiatus for training was not compatible with Wise's job at the Craft empire, especially if Tom Colicchio is planning a new tasting-menu restaurant.
Update: Damon Wise tells us, The amount of time commitment the contest requires is just not going to fit into my schedule very well. It would be an honor to be involved in it, but once we saw the schedule, its just too much time away."