More than a decade ago, top chefs Nathan Outlaw and Bryn Williams progressed to the finals of The Roux Scholarship. Despite not winning, both have found that being part of The Roux Scholarship has been of great benefit to their careers.
Nathan Outlaw, whose Port Isaac restaurant holds two Michelin stars, took part in the competition three times in the early 2000’s and still values the experience. Outlaw said of his experience of taking part: “It helped me because it took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to do more. It’s easy to sit back and not challenge yourself when you cook in the same kitchen every day.”
The contacts he made have also been of benefit to Chef Outlaw’s career: “Being a finalist gave me a wonderful experience at the age of 22 and 23 that I still cherish today. The people I met have helped me in various ways throughout my career. Also, the Roux Scholarship has a kudos that really opens doors for a young chef. For someone serious about their craft, it’s worth every minute!”
Bryn Williams got through to the finals in 2005, having also applied the year before, he said: “What I really enjoyed was being in the mix in one of the best competitions in Europe and cooking against your peers, and being judged by these fantastic chefs. I enjoyed the professionalism of the competition too. It’s a serious competition and you need to be your very best to go through the stages to the final.”
Now that it is several years since he competed, Chef Williams, who is chef-proprietor at Odette’s in Primrose Hill and has restaurants at Somerset House and Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay, still feels the benefit. “Even now, 10, 12, 14 years later, people say ‘Oh you did the Roux Scholarship’. People know you did it, and you’re on their radar, and that never goes away. Being associated with The Roux Scholarship is the biggest pat on the back you could get.”
Entries are now open for The Roux Scholarship 2020 and young chefs are being encouraged to enter and take part in a competition that could change their lives. Full details are here.