10 Minutes With: Harry Guy, Roux Scholarship 2016 winner

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st January 2017

It’s been nearly 12 months since the Roux Scholarship 2016 winner, Harry Guy, got his hands on one of the industry’s most prestigious titles.

He has since staged at Saison with Joshua Skenes and now he is ready for his next challenge as he is currently looking for a head chef position. The Staff Canteen spoke to him about how he would have kept entering the Roux Scholarship until he won, advice for the next scholar who will take his place and what it means to now be part of an elite group of chefs.

Roux Scholarship finalists 2016
Roux Scholarship finalists 2016

“They say it’s the prize that never stops giving, and they are right,” explained Harry. “To be named as a scholar, that title, you can always hold on to – it’s a really nice feeling to be a part of that.”

Harry who was a development chef for the Eden Hotel Collection at the time and has previously worked at L’Enclume (Simon Rogan is known for producing scholars!) was crowned Roux Scholarship 2016 winner in April last year – it was his second attempt.

Part of the prize is a stage at any of the 3 star Michelin restaurants in the world and Harry chose Saison in San Francisco with chef Joshua Skenes.

>>> Related: Rogan’s Roux Scholarship winners


“There’s a sort of unwritten law where you don’t choose anywhere which someone else has been to,” laughed Harry. “I think everyone who makes it to the final has a top two and has definitely thought about where they would go for a long time.

“I chose Saison because it was something different, no one in the UK is really doing what they are doing so I thought I would get to learn something different. I’ve been following the restaurant for a number of years and I was interested in the fact that everything is touched by the open fire pit which they have in the kitchen, at some point.

Harry Guy and the Roux Scholars at Saison
Harry Guy and the Roux Scholars at Saison

“Whether it’s to smoke something or to dry something out or simply to cook it, they have gone back to a very natural way of cooking but it’s also done in a very clever way.”

So can we expect Harry to open a restaurant in the future with his own fire pit?

“I can see the technique having an influence on me in some way or another but I wouldn’t always revert back to the fire and the way they do it because it is their thing,” he explained. “That’s what they are known for and I don’t think you can replicate it to the same standard.”

The opportunity to stage in any three star restaurant would no doubt bring with it a number of amazing experiences but for Harry it was the people he met who were the real highlight.

He said: “You learn a hell of a lot and I’ll never forget those things but the people you meet on that journey make it really special.”

WINNING TIPS

Having put himself through the Roux Scholarship twice, Harry should have some good advice on how to win so chefs take heed, here are his top tips on being a winner:
You’ve got to do your research – not so much the classic recipes but the techniques.
Take your time – organise your time well.
Enjoy it!

Part of the challenge of the Roux Scholarship is having the knowledge of the classics ready for when the Roux’s when they throw a dish of their choice at you. From en croûte, cardoon gratin and tarragon sauce to Veal Orloff, the classics is a vast topic.

Harry said: “I looked at a few of the old Michel Roux books, Le Repertoire, Larousse; but you need to concentrate on the technique rather than remembering every recipe – that’s impossible! I was quite classically trained when I first started so I think that helped in some way.”

Harry is currently looking for a head chef position and as a Roux Scholar this will definitely stand him in good stead but before he hands over his crown to the 2017 scholar, we wanted to know what he would say to other chefs thinking about taking part and in particular what they should take from the winning experience itself.

“The evening of the final is a bit of a whirlwind,” said Harry. “I’d tell them to take a step back and have a look around but it’s very hard to do that at the time! Just enjoy it, and if you don’t win it this year you could win it the next so keep trying. I’d have carried on going until I won.”

By Cara Houchen

@canteencara

>>> Enter the Roux Scholarship and find out more here

>>> Related: The Roux Scholarship winners: where are they now? (part 3)

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st January 2017

10 Minutes With: Harry Guy, Roux Scholarship 2016 winner