Harry Guy, support and development chef for the Eden Hotel Collection in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, has won the 2016 Roux Scholarship.
Guy beat five other finalists in a highly contested final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on Monday (4 April), where they were asked to prepare and serve Norfolk black chicken cooked en croûte, cardoon gratin and tarragon sauce.
The 26-year-old chef, who made it through to the regional finals last year, was battling it out against Martin Carabott of the Royal Automobile Club, London, Ben Champkin from L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, Scott Dineen of Goldman Sachs (BaxterStorey), London, Paul Matthews from Fieldfisher (Vacherin), London, and Tim Peirson of Kensington Place, Kensington, London.
Commenting on Guy’s win at the 33rd national final, Michel Roux Jr said: “At first sight it could seem like this was a straightforward and simple dish. However there were a lot of potential banana skins and the winner showed exceptional all round skills.”
Alain Roux added: “Although it may sound simple, we chose this dish because it’s technically challenging due to all the component parts. We were looking for suet dough with the perfect bite, chicken with maximum flavour, two well-made sauces and correctly prepared soft cardoons. Once assembled, the test was to cook the dish properly, without it becoming dry. It’s a pie – nothing more – and a chef cooking in the UK should know how to cook a pie!”
The six finalists – all aged under 30 – had three hours to cook the Escoffier-inspired recipe in front of the judges. Pierre Gagnaire, the legendary, multi-Michelin-starred chef led the judging in a new role as honorary president of the judges 2016.
First time chairmen of the judges Alain and Michel Jr were also joined by James Martin, Brian Turner, the first scholar Andrew Fairlie as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar) and André Garrett (2002 scholar).
Guy’s win was revealed at a glittering awards ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in front of an audience of prestigious guests. For the first time in the history of the competition, the awards ceremony was live streamed via the Roux Scholarship website.
The Eden Hotel Collection chef, who previously worked at L’Enclume, receives £6,000, and an invitation to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a prestigious three-Michelin-starred restaurant anywhere in the world for up to three months.
The competition is supported by a number of companies including Aubrey Allen, Bridor, Cactus TV, The Caterer, Direct Seafoods, Global Knives, Hildon Natural Mineral Water, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, L’Unico Caffe Musetti, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Mash Purveyors, Restaurant Associates and Udale Speciality Foods.