Hrishikesh Desai, sous chef at the Michelin-starred Lucknam Park in Colerne, Wiltshire, has been named the 2009 Roux Scholar.
The 29-year-old Indian-born chef won the title following a fierce cook-off in the kitchens of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel on Monday (6 April).
Competitors were asked to cook brill cherubin, from Larousse Gastronomique, along with spinach croquettes in two hours.
Their culinary skills were judged by a panel of industry experts headed by scholarship founders Albert and Michel Roux and their respective sons, Alain and Michel Jr.
The panel also included Heston Blumenthal, David Nicholls, Gary Rhodes, Brian Turner and guest judge and Bloomberg food critic Richard Vines, as well as the competition's inaugural scholar Andrew Fairlie.
Desai has won a week's paid work experience in New York, courtesy of Compass Group's Restaurant Associates, an expenses-paid trip to Champagne Gosset in Ay and a trip to visit the Caffe Musetti roasting factory in Milan.
Speaking after the award ceremony, Desai credited Lucknam Park head chef Hywel Jones as the "driving force" behind his recent career.
"The Roux Scholarship is the competition as far as I'm concerned and I've entered before but failed to reach the finals. I am so relieved to have managed to win after just one attempt at the final," he said.
Michel Roux added: "Hrishikesh presented one of the best dishes we have seen, he was one of the most organised and steady chefs we have judged, with a perfect attitude and great skill. It is the first time I have spoken of a competitor this well."
The 2009 finalists: Hrishikesh Desai, Lucknam Park Hotel, Colerne (winner)
Helene Andersen, Ambassade de I'lle, London
Quinton Bennett, The Westbury Mayfair, London
Christopher Golding, Nahm Restaurant, London
Stephen Stevens, Porth Tocyn Hotel, Abersoch
Kevin Sutherland, BaxterStorey, London
By Kerstin Kühn
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