Luke Selby, Head Chef at Dabbous, London has won the 2017 Roux Scholarship. Luke beat five other finalists in a fiercely contested final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on Monday 10th April, where they were asked to prepare and serve Royal-style saddle of hare, chestnut flavoured tagliatelli and purple sprouting broccoli.
The 26-year-old chef, who entered the competition for the first time this year, was battling it out against Martin Carabott, from Luca Restaurant, London, Michael Cruickshank from Bohemia, Jersey, Scott Dineen, of BaxterStorey, London, Oliver Downey from Fera at Claridge’s, London and Matthew Whitfield from The Driftwood Hotel, Portscatho in Cornwall.
Commenting on the 34th national final, Michel Roux Jr said: “Regardless of being tricky, everyone stayed calm. Chefs’ instincts kicked in. The end results were good but all the finalists need to read the instructions. Having said that there were no cock-ups, every dish had plenty of positives. The recipe tested the knowledge of the classics which all good chefs should have.”
Alain Roux added: “Nobody panicked and all seemed comfortable to have a go. The six understood what we were looking for. For me, one of the challenges was the stuffing, which needed to be tasty and remain in the saddle of the hare. There were some issues of overcooking the hare, and some undercooked it too. It was ultimately a test of braising, so we wanted it a little rare or even slightly bloody, Luke’s dish was a clear winner.”
Anne-Sophie Pic: “It was not so easy, but they did pretty well. The six did it very differently though. They managed well considering they’re very young and hadn’t done it before. I’d advise them to follow their instincts. Using their intuition to complete a balanced dish is very important.”
Brian Turner commented: “The winning dish stood out and it was a pretty unanimous decision for us.”
Luke Selby said: “It was hard and I was really nervous but as soon as I got going I was fine. The cooking and seasoning went well. I’ve cooked hare before, but about 8 years ago! I’ve never cooked it this way but I had an idea of what they were looking for. It was an honour to cook for the judges; I wanted to impress them. They were encouraging, not intimidating at all.”
Speaking after the announcement he added, I am very honoured to be part of the family, and the legacy that is the Roux Scholarship. I’d like to go to Japan for my stage. I’m not sure which restaurant yet but it’s so different there, they respect their produce so much.”
The six chefs, all under 30 years old had three hours to cook the recipe inspired by Antonin Carême in front of the judges. Three-Michelin starred chef, Anne-Sophie Pic, honorary president of the judges led the panel alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Jr. They were joined by James Martin, David Nicholls, Brian Turner, head scholar Andrew Fairlie as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar), Sat Bains (1999 scholar) and André Garrett (2002 scholar).
The winner was announced at a glittering awards ceremony at The Langham, London, in front of an audience of top chefs and prestigious guests from the world of hospitality. For the second year running the awards ceremony was live streamed via the Roux Scholarship website.
The winning chef, receives £6,000, and an invitation to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a prestigious three star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world for up to three months. This, in addition to an impressive list of prizes and culinary experiences provided courtesy of our sponsors.
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Photography by Jodi Hinds