Compass Group's Daniel Cox was last night crowned the 2008 Roux Scholar at an award reception at London's Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.
Cox, who works for Compass's fine dining division Restaurant Associates at its contract for investment bank UBS in London, is the only chef working in the contract sector of the industry ever to win the prestigious title.
He has won the renowned three-month stage at a three-star Michelin establishment, plus £5,000 cash, courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust.
The 26-year old, who received his award from scholarship founders Albert and Michel Roux., beat off the challenge from five other young chefs in a cook-off staged three weeks ago at London's Westminster Kingsway College.
Their culinary skills were judged by a panel of industry experts headed by Michel and Albert and their respective sons, Alain and Michel Roux Jr, which also included the competition's inaugural scholar Andrew Fairlie.
Fairlie said: "Daniel's attention to detail was a telling factor. It's the little things, like seasoning, that a dish often comes down to."
Speaking after the award ceremony, which also celebrated the scholarship's 25th anniversary, Cox said: "I was happy with how I cooked the dish, but you never know how you compare against everyone else, so it was a total surprise when I heard my name called out."
See next week's Caterer (1 May) for full report on the Roux Scholarship final.
By Joanna Wood
E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.