The world's best waiter: Yes, there is such a thing.
The honours this year were bestowed upon Japanese Maitre D' Shin Miyazaki at the George Baptiste Cup, a contest that saw 24 hopefuls from 14 countries set tables, identified cognacs, and prepared salmon tartare in a rather refined battle to be named the world's best waiter.
The cup, or "coupe" en Francais, was initially established in France in 1961, at which time only French contestants were permitted to participate. In the 1990s more countries were added, and in 2000 the contest went global, with the very first international edition held in Canada that year.
In 2009 the competition was held in Vietnam, and the winner was Canada's own Pierre-Luc Côté, who hails from Saint-Apollinaire, QC.
"I made 100 crêpe Suzettes before the competition in preparation, but when the time comes, you only get one chance to make it perfectly," says Côté.
He's worked in a variety of high end restaurants in Quebec, and studied extensively for the competition -- he even had a personal coach to guide him in his preparations.
Côté remembers the big day well. There were three cocktails in 15 minutes, fish prepared at the table, pepper steak, written tests on wine knowledge, and of course, that perfect crêpe Suzette. The competition requires that you do everything in your second language, so Côté did it all in English.
"When you watch the Olympics and you see those people running the 100 metres, you know they ran that a lot of time before, but they only get to do it once," says Côté.
Competition was reportedly fierce at this year's cup, which was held at a hotel in Tokyo, Japan. There were nine events, among them floral decoration, making salad dressing, setting the table, and making Irish coffee and salmon tartare, reports Business Insider.
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The judges were apparently rather harsh — one Estonian contestant's inquiry about which wine the table might prefer was greeted with another question.
"What do you think, you're the professional, right?"
Miyazaki eventually walked away with the top prize thanks to his superior skills at cooking lamb and pairing wines — in perfect French. The 35-year-old works at Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Tokyo and was reportedly overcome by the victory.
"I practised every day for years, I'm hooked, and now I get this award," said Miyazaki. "But this is only the beginning, tomorrow I go back to work to do my best."
Watch the video below about a fun pumpkin chucking competition.