ChamSys on menu for Bocuse d’Or Europe 2020
Monday, 25 January 2021
bocuse-dorIn the mix: the ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M Stadium console (photo: Lauri Laan)
Estonia - On the final day of Bocuse d'Or Europe 2020, leading chefs from 24 nations gathered with their teams in different rooms at the Saku Arena in Talin early in the morning to review their secret plans for the dishes they would be offering judges later that afternoon.
All of them would be working with Estonian quail and eel catfish. The culinary wizard who blended these basic ingredients into ‘the most sumptuous and alluring gastronomical creation’ would be crowned European Champion by Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid.
As the top chefs and their assistants met in secret that morning, Olev Luhaäär was also busy meeting with his team as they reviewed plans for lighting the televised event under unusual circumstances. (Unlike in previous years there was no live audience in the 10,000-seat arena because of the pandemic.) Luhaäär had begun preparing for this project six months earlier, working with project manager Gamal Elhuveig. Now it was time for a final review with his crew: LD Rene Jõhve, and tech support specialist Kristo Sooalu.
Like the chefs, preparing their entries, Luhaäär and his associates had to balance varying elements together into a smoothly integrated final creation. Helping them in this endeavour was the ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M Stadium console.
“People and sets changed all the time during the programme, so we constantly made small adjustments for the lighting, all the while ensuring that we remained camera friendly,” said Luhaäär who used eight universes and 120 different lighting fixtures for the broadcast. “Since the presenters constantly strolled between kitchens, there were some unplanned locations for interviews. This required us to adjust the lights fast according to the changing situations. Thanks to MQ500M giving us immediate access to enough buttons and faders, the process worked very smoothly, even with the unscripted changes.”
A ChamSys user for 10 years, Luhaäär only recently moved up to the MQ500M. He found the transition seamless. “I had used this console a few times before, so I was familiar with it,” he said. “The MQ500M is even more comfortable than earlier models, with its very intuitive and logical layout. It also has several new features that greatly enhanced my work.”
For Bocuse d'Or Europe 2020, Luhaäär found the changeable fader functions -notably the fader banks and rotating knobs on buttons 16-30 - particularly helpful. He points out that these functions allowed him to have more cues at his fingertips for quick storage and playback.
“The show wasn’t very complicated in terms of programming,” he said. “What it demanded most was constant attention to detail, which was something that the MQ500M helped us do. At all times we had to be in step with what was happening on stage as things changed.”
This focus helped ensure that the lighting reflected well on all of the programme’s chefs, including winner Christian Andre Petterson of Norway. Although TV viewers couldn’t taste the menu he created, they could certainly savour it visually, thanks in no small part to Luhaäär’s thoughtful recipe for lighting the show.

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