After days of tough competition, Norway has walked away as the winner of the 2008 Culinary Olympics—but the American team had plenty to show for their time in the Olympic kitchen.

The last day of events included the Restaurant of Nations for some of the contest’s most highly rated teams: the United States, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway. Each country prepared nationally inspired starters, entrees and desserts for a crowd of 110, along with a complete menu and preparation details—a tall order in only hours of competition. With 60% of the overall score at stake, the Restaurant of Nations had no room for error.

From this heated battle, a number of teams earned gold medal recognition: Australia, Sweden, Norway, Canada, and the United States took highest honors for their Restaurant of Nations performance. In the end, however, it was Norway who came out on top in the hot food preparation, winning the category—along with the Culinary Art competition and, as a result, the overall victory.

Rounding out the top honors were Germany, honored for the best cold food display, and Singapore, winning top marks in the pastry competition; Switzerland’s youth team came out on top in their own contest, while Germany’s military team won theirs. The United States placed seventh in the overall competition, coming in just behind Canada and Denmark.

America was not without its prize, however. The American Culinary Federation team, taking part in the regional division, won that overall competition—eking out a close victory over the Culinary Team of Alberta, and helped enormously by pastry chef Jennifer Kopp, who earned the highest score in the entire pastry competition.

While the American team may not have prevailed, their performance was commendable: the national team took three gold medals and a silver; in the youth division, the States took fourth place, and second in the military; and the ACF regional team came out on top. The final win may have remained elusive, but the American team put up a formidable fight.

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