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

The Staff Canteen

With the Roux Scholarship 2015 competition closing on January 30, 2015, today we take a look at the scholarship's previous 31 winners.

We ask where Andrew Jones, Matthew Tomkinson, Pravin Sharma, Armand Sablon, Daniel Cox, Hrishikesh Desai, Kenneth Culhane, Mark Birchall, Adam Smith, Paul O'Neill and Tom Barnes; chose to do their stage and about their careers since the competition .

Andrew Jones - 2004

Andrew did his stage with Michel Bras at his three Michelin star restaurant in Laguiole, France. He said: "Its was quite an inspirational journey and totally the opposite from my job and life at the time; going from working in one of the busiest hotels in central London to the middle of the countryside miles away from nowhere!

"The experience that I gained from spending time there has helped me to this day, in the way I manage my team in the kitchen and most importantly helping me formulate my own style of cooking."

He added: "It wasn’t all roses; it was hard work and I got quite a few of the crappy jobs to do at first but as the time went on the jobs got better!"

He was working at Claridge’s in London at the time and rose through the ranks to become premier sous chef. Leaving Claridge’s, he became executive chef at The Westbury. He joined Chamberlain’s restaurant as executive chef in 2011.

He said: "When you win the scholarship you become part of an exclusive club! This stays with you and gives you that extra drive when you cooking; it’s like a responsibility that you need to live up to! But it also gives you a network of friends and invaluable amounts of resources to tap into when you need help and advice on your career or future career!"

>>> Related: 10 minutes with: Andrew Jones, executive chef at Chamberlain’s

Matthew Tomkinson - 2005

Matthew Tomkinson did his stage with Michel Guerard at his restaurant Les Prés d’Eugénie near Bordeaux in France.

He said: "It was an amazing experience; it felt like completely immersing yourself in another world. At Michel Guerard I had a real sense of history and the effort involved to create something so unique. Looking back I think the experience teaches you as much about yourself as it does food; it’s an elite environment that you are dropped into and scholar or not you have to get on and prove yourself."

At the time he was at the Michelin-starred Ockenden Manor. After the scholarship, he moved on to head chef at The Goose, which won a Michelin star. He became head chef of the Michelin-starred Montagu Arms in the New Forest in 2008.

"I entered in 2004 because of advice from Martin Hadden (1989 Scholar)," explained Matthew. "I only entered again in 2005 because I had enjoyed it so much and ended up winning it!"

He added: "I think it’s hard to quantify the impact it has on you. From the opportunity to travel, to learn and the support from the network of chefs you become connected to. It’s very easy to say it opened doors for me but it is so much more than that, it completely changes the way you see the industry and the way it sees you."


Pravin Sharma - 2006

Pravin Sharma was sous chef at Silk, the fine dining restaurant at the Courthouse Hotel Kempinski when he won the competition in 2006. He went to two places for his stage, spending a month with Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck in Bray and then two months at Les Maisons de Bricourt in Brittany, France with Olivier Roellinger. Sadly he was diagnosed with leukaemia in April 2007 and passed away less than four months later.

Armand Sablon - 2007

Armand Sablon trained at Auberge de L’Ill in Alsace, Eastern France. He won the scholarship while working as a sous chef at Galvin at Windows, under previous Roux scholar Andre Garrett.

He said: "It was a growing up period for me which opened my eyes to the dedication and hard work that’s required at the very best restaurants. It was exhilarating, fast, professional and most importantly exciting and fun; something which has molded my future to get me where I am today."

He went on to work as senior sous chef at Ambassade de l'Ile and head chef at Bistro K and Bistro Bruno Loubet, before gaining his current position as head chef at the Café Royal Hotel’s Ten Room. "It was really the start of my career in which I intend to have a lifelong experience of working in the best places in the land," said Armand.

"To be a former winner of the Roux scholarship has forged a relationship with some of the best chefs in the land. The Roux’s and fellow judges keep a close eye on your career and are always on hand to advise on future choices – which is priceless."


Daniel Cox - 2008

After being advised by Albert and Michel Roux that Spain’s El Bulli might not suit what he wanted to achieve, Daniel did a stage at Can Fabes with Santi Santamaria.

He said: "I decided to choose a more classical approach to three star Catalan cooking with Santi Santa Maria. It was his ethos that drew me to Can Fabes, working with local farmers, hunters, foragers and fishermen with a style rooted in the tradition of the region but presented in a natural modern way. This was where my true passion was, in the quality of ingredients. The best part was the fish section, we would go to Blanes the local port twice a week and take fish straight off the boats, buying the fish, preparing it, then cooking and dressing the plates, you got to see and work the whole thing."

When he got back he was invited by Michel Roux Jr to be head chef at the new Roux at Parliament Square. After this he worked as head chef at Verbier Exclusive in Switzerland before joining Simon Rogan’s team at L’Enclume. Continuing with Simon he is now executive chef at Fera at Claridge's.

"The Roux Scholarship was something I was firmly set on achieving," explained Dan. "It has really pushed me on. It pushes you on as a person really more than anything – the stage and the whole year of being a scholar – it really gives you confidence to do what you want to do and progress in your career."

Hrishikesh Desai - 2009

When Hrishikesh Desai chose to do his stage with Thomas Keller atn The French Laudry in California, he didn’t know the rules said he had to choose a place in Europe. But the scholarship sent him there anyway, and the competition was updated to allow the winner to choose any Michelin restaurant in the world.

He said: "The discipline in a three star kitchen is very different and it takes some time to blend in to that atmosphere. There is no place for complacency and everything has to be spot on as per the instructions of the head/sous chefs. I think overall doing a stage in a three star establishment widens your views towards cooking and encourages you to push-on further to achieve similar sort of discipline. The French Laundry experience by far created a big impact on me and since then I have decided to bring a similar sort of discipline in the kitchen which I will be heading one day."

Hrishikesh was working at Lucknam Park near Bath when he won, and he has continued to stay there, working his way up from sous to head chef. He also won the National Chef of the Year award in 2010. He is currently head chef of Lucknam Park Cookery School which opened in 2012.

"Winning the Roux Scholarship has been a life changing moment in my career," said Hrishikesh. "All of a sudden you become known as a Roux Scholar and this puts you in a different league of chefs. By no means any dis-respect to other chefs who also work hard to be where they are, but the Roux Scholarship is a sort of a massive thrust which can speed up your career path.

"Knowing that you can ask for guidance from the Roux family and previous scholars is a big boon to enhance your career. You get a chance to participate in several different events organised by the scholarship which opens different doors and make you see a different side of cooking. This is indeed a life changing moment for many chefs."


Kenneth Culhane - 2010

Having seen Hrishikesh Desai head to the US, Kenneth Culhane wanted to go there as well. So he chose to do his stage at Jean Georges in New York City. After some time weighing up his opportunities, on return he became head chef of The Dysart, a pub restaurant in Petersham.  

>>> Read: Kenneth Culhane, head chef, The Dysart in Petersham


Mark Birchall - 2011

Mark Birchall did his stage in Spain at El Celler de Can Roca, Girona. He won the competition while head chef at Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred L’Enclume in Cumbria. Mark recently opened his first venture since leaving the two Michelin-starred L'Enclume, Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms. 

>>> Related: Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms is now open! The Staff Canteen spoke to chef patron, Mark Birchall


Adam Smith - 2012

For his stage, Adam Smith headed to Le Meurice, Paris with Yannick Alléno – the first time a scholar had chosen France in five years. After spending eight years at The Ritz, working up to be executive sous chef, he was appointed head chef in 2013 of the Michelin-starred Burlington restaurant at The Devonshire Arms Hotel in Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire.


Paul O’Neill - 2013

Thirtieth Roux Scholar Paul O’Neill chose to do his stage at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. At the time he was sous chef at Ashdown Park Hotel in Surrey. In September 2014 he joined the team of the Berwick Lodge Hotel in Bristol as head chef of their new Hattusa restaurant.

Tom Barnes - 2014

Roux Scholar Tom Barnes has recently finished his three month stage at Hof Van Cleve in Belgium with Peter Goosens. He is currently sous chef at L’Enclume, working under previous winner Mark Birchall.  


When he won the competition in 2015 Ian was head chef for Claude Bosi's Mayfair restaurant, Hibiscus which held two stars in the Michelin Guide UK before its closure. Since then Ian has been part of Dan Barber's wastED project at Selfridges and is gearing himself for his new role at Corey Lee's new restaurant in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, In Situ.

>>> Ian Scaramuzza wins the Roux Scholarship 2015

HARRY GUY - 2016

Harry Guy is currently head of development for the acclaimed chef, Simon Rogan who he previously worked with when he was at L'Enclume. At the time of winning the Roux Scholarship Harry was a development chef for the Eden Hotel Collection and has since staged at Saison with Joshua Skenes in San Francisco.

>>> Related: 10 Minutes With: Harry Guy, Roux Scholarship 2016 winner



Recent winner, Luke Selby is head chef at the one Michelin-starred restaurant, Dabbous. Luke, who was also crowned Young National Chef of the Year 2014, previously worked at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and with renowned chef Raymond Blanc at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. Luke recently revealed he will be doing his 3 month stage for winning the competition in Japan.

>>> Luke Selby wins the Roux Scholarship 2017
>>> Why not take a look at the other winners: Mercy Fenton, Chris Colmer, Trevor Blyth, Steve Love, Patrick Thompson, Sat Bains, Frederick Forster, Steve Drake, Andre Garrett and Simon Hulstone.
>>> Plus: Andrew Fairlie, John Murray, René Pauvert, Richard Stuart, Ricky Perrin, Martin Hadden, Scott Hessel, Eugene Callaghan, James Carberry and Jonathan Harrison.
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Editor 16th January 2015

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