Luke Selby from one-Michelin-starred restaurant Dabbous has been named winner of the 2017 Roux Scholarship.
The young chef beat five other finalists in a highly fought final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, today (10 April), where they were asked to prepare and serve lièvre à la royale (hare royal) with chestnut pasta and broccoli in a style of their choosing.
Selby, who took the Young National Chef of the Year title in 2014, was battling it out against Martin Carabott of Luca restaurant, Clerkenwell, London; Michael Cruickshank of Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey; Scott Dineen of BaxterStorey, London; Oliver Downey of Fera at Claridge’s, Mayfair, London; and Matthew Whitfield of the Driftwood hotel, Portscatho, Cornwall.
Commenting on Selby’s win at the national final, joint chairman of the judges, Michel Roux Jr, told The Caterer: “It’s quite a complex and demanding dish, bearing in mind hare is not something current and not something you see very often on menus. But what we were looking for as judges was core and classic skills and a certain amount of knowledge of how to cook and prepare a saddle of hare.
“There were no disasters – everyone did well, as one would expect at a final of this calibre – but Luke nailed it on butchery skills, his cooking of the hare, his presentation and his seasoning. So he ticked all the boxes needed to get the dish right. Because the competitors did not have time to braise the dish completely, it needed to be served pink, and it’s not easy to do that and get the stuffing – or forcemeat – cooked all the way through.”
The six finalists – all aged under 30 – had three hours to cook the Escoffier-inspired recipe in front of judges. Third-generation, three-Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic led the judging in the role of honorary president of the judges 2017.
Judges Alain and Michel Jr, joint chairmen of the competition, and Pic were also joined by Brian Turner, Andrew Fairlie, James Martin, David Nicholls, Sat Bains, André Garrett and Simon Hulstone.
Selby’s win was announced at an awards ceremony at the Langham London in front of an audience of prestigious guests. The competition was live streamed via the Roux Scholarship website, YouTube, Twitter and www.thecaterer.com.
The Dabbous chef receives £6,000 and an invitation to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant of his choice, anywhere in the world, for up to three months.
The competition, now in its 34th year, is supported by a number of companies including Aubrey Allen, Bragard UK, Bridor, The Caterer, Global Knives, Hildon, the Institute of Hospitality, Laurent-Perrier, Caffe Musetti, Mash Purveyors, Restaurant Associates, TRUEfoods, and Udale Speciality Foods.
Dabbous is expected to close this summer ahead of a major new initiative from the restaurant creators, Ollie Dabbous and Oskar Kinberg.
Videos from The Caterer archives