"I've not worked anywhere else that pays overtime for a chef"

The Staff Canteen

Aaron Middleton and Luke Selby discuss Le Manoir, encouraging new talent, and how to win the industry’s most critically acclaimed competitions.

In this week’s episode of Grilled by The Staff Canteen, Editor Cara Houchen was joined by co-host Aaron Middleton, Chef and social media influencer, and his guest Luke Selby, Head Chef of Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

During the episode, the pair discussed everything from their celebrity crushes to Luke’s love of ketchup!


Born Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to an English father and a Filipino mother, Luke grew up in Brighton, where he studied chemistry, biology and art at A-Levels, before beginning his hospitality career as a commis chef at Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons.

Over six years, he rose from commis to sous-chef, overseeing every aspect of the kitchen, the private dining room and the pass.

After Le Manoir, he worked as a junior sous chef at Gordon Ramsay's three Michelin-starred restaurants on Royal Hospital Road for a year.

Luke won The Roux Scholarship in 2017 and seized on the opportunity it afforded him to stage at any three Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, choosing Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo, where he staged under revered chef Seiji Yamamoto and gained a new understanding of Japanese ingredients, culture, techniques and flavours.

Returning to the UK, Luke joined the team at Ollie Dabbous' Hide Above in Mayfair, with the restaurant earning a star in the Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland 2019.

In May 2019, Luke left Hide Above, and in 2020, he and his brothers, Theo and Nathaniel, both chefs, took over Evelyn's Table, a vacant space below the Blue Posts Pub in Chinatown, Soho.

In January 2023, Luke replaced Gary Jones as head chef at Le Manoir who had spent more than 20 years working at Raymond Blanc’s famed Oxford institution.


During the podcast, it wasn’t long before the conversation focused on Luke’s amazing track record of winning competitions, with Luke being the only chef to win the Craft Guild of Chef’s Young National Chef of the Year; The Roux Scholarship; and National Chef of the Year.

Explaining what attracted him to competitions as a young chef, Luke revealed: "I was drawn to competitions because I didn't have a choice. Gary Jones told me I'm doing it, so that was the first one that I did, The Craft Guild Graduate Awards.”

Luke added: "I'm very competitive naturally anyway, but also when I won there's so many benefits and support and people you meet and the prizes, things that I firstly couldn't afford, or never been exposed to as a young chef. I think the hard work paying off was what attracted me in the first place, and then I'd always just push myself."


Discussing what businesses can do to recruit staff amid the ongoing staffing crisis affecting hospitality in the UK, the pair reflected on their experiences training and working at Le Manoir.

"Le Manoir has been one of the big training grounds for multiple Michelin starred chefs and what they do really well here is they train people then they build people up. When I first started in January, we were 10, chefs down to our budget and we had a big recruitment drive, now we have a waiting list of chefs, and we've achieved that through working closely with our HR department, our marketing team, but also in changing the way that we operate,” explained Luke.

Discussing how Le Manoir has changed it’s model following on from the Covid pandemic, challenges with staffing, and the ongoing cost of living crisis, Luke revealed: "I moved the kitchen to a three day week; so three days off, four days on, 12 hours a shift. They work 12 hours a day, four days, 48 hours a week. Any hour they do overtime on top of 48 hours they get paid overtime. I've not worked anywhere else that pays overtime for a chef. Back in the day, you just worked and you worked 16, 17, 18 hours a day, sometimes 20 and it's just what was expected and came with the job."

These new measures from Raymond, Luke and the rest of Le Manoir’s senior aren’t aimed at simply just hiring staff to ensure all roles are filled, with Luke also hoping other businesses in the industry follow suit.

“I think what we want to do at Le Manoir together with Raymond is become a leading light in industry of standards that every business should uphold and treat their staff correctly, pay them correctly, pay them overtime, give them their holidays, and just become good managers,” Luke added.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd June 2023

"I've not worked anywhere else that pays overtime for a chef"