Adam Smith, premier sous chef at the Ritz in London, has been named the 2012 Roux Scholar.
Smith, who had entered the prestigious competition for the first time this year, won the title following a fierce cook-off in the kitchens of London's Westminster Kingsway College yesterday (2 April).
A 2011 Acorn winner, 24-year-old Smith is already an experienced competition chef having won a gold medal at the 2009 WorldSkills competition in Calgary and assisted both former Roux Scholars Andre Garrett and Simon Hulstone as commis chef at the 2007 and 2009 Bocuse d'Or.
In 2010, he was selected to represent the English National Culinary Team at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg, winning a gold medal in the Restaurant of Nations. That same year he also won the Craft Guild's Young Chef of the Year award.
At the Roux Scholarship final, competitors were asked to cook turbotin jubilee, whole braised turbot with lobster mousseline, scallops and caviar, garnished with artichoke bottoms and asparagus tips and a champagne sauce, in two hours and 30 minutes.
Their culinary skills were judged by a panel of industry experts headed by scholarship founder Michel Roux, his brother Albert, son Alain and nephew Michel Jnr. The judges also included former Roux Scholars, two-Michelin-starred chefs Andrew Fairlie and Sat Bains, as well as David Nicholls, Gary Rhodes, Brian Turner and the BBC2 Saturday Kitchen presenter James Martin.
Speaking after the award ceremony, Smith told Catererandhotelkeeper.com he was shocked and surprised. "I thought I had blown it with my time keeping as I was late serving. But I had to wait for the fish to be cooked."
Michel Roux added: "All aspects of Adam's dish were perfect. He didn't win because he had a few good elements, his dish was a picture of perfection."
When asked where he thought the award would take him, Smith said: "I have no idea, I'm just so surprised. I will think about it for a few weeks before I make a decision on where to go for my stage."
As the 29th winner of the Roux Scholarship, Smith has won a three-month all expenses paid stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant of his choice. He has also won an expenses-paid trip to Champagne Gosset in Ay, and a trip to visit the Caffe Musetti roasting factory in Milan as well as an annual subscription to Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
The other five finalists were:
â- Quinton Bennett, the Arch, London
â- Arbinder Dugal, Le Pont De La Tour, London
â- Pramod Ghadge, Catlin Underwriting Agencies operated by Harbour & Jones, London
â- Robert Hutchins, Rudding Park hotel, Harrogate
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin KÁ¼hn here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs