Jonnie Ferguson wins the Roux Scholarship 2022

The Staff Canteen

Jonnie Ferguson, junior sous-chef at The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant in Crieff, Scotland has been named the Roux Scholar 2022

The final, which was held at Westminster Kingsway College today, pitted Jonnie against Kieran Bradley of The Vineyard Hotel in Stockcross, Newbury; head chef at The Princess of Shoreditch, Ruth Hansom; Yiannis Mexis, of Hide; Christos Sidiropoulos, of Flemings Mayfair and George Whitelock, Angler’s Restaurant. 

The final six had to cook a classic dish of chaud-froid of Merrifield duck à l'orange with Chartreuse of asparagus - a complex affair involving chilled roasted ducks coated in a brown chaud-froid jellied velouté sauce, served with chilled 'Chartreuse' of asparagus. 

Jonnie, already a finalist in the 2021 competition, was announced the winner at a celebratory dinner, held at The Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park, London, and will receive a prize of up to £12,000, a three-month stage at a three-star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world, and a number of prizes from the scholarship's sponsors.

This year's judging panel was led by Hélène Darroze, who was joined by Michel Roux Jr., Alain Roux, James Martin, André Garrett, Clare Smyth, Simon Hulstone, Sat Bains and Brian Turner CBE.

In his acceptance speech, Jonnie said: "I'm blown away, thank you so much. It means so much to me."

Thanking his family, and his head chef Mark Donald, who, he said "has been unbelievable with me. The amount of time he's put into helping me with this is ridiculous."

"Stevie McLaughlin of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie is one of the reasons I am here, he put me on this path and Andrew Fairlie, who I wish was here to see this - but I'm massively proud to be representing him."

As for what his victory might mean for his career, he said, "it's monumental. I can't wait to start thinking about where I want to go and stage, I've not thought about it because it seems surreal now. It's huge, the contacts that it will bring, the people to help support me and my development, there's no price you could put on that."

Commenting on the chef's proficiency in the competition, Michel Roux Jr said: “It was a very, very tough and testing recipe. They all rose to the occasion though and showed an understanding of the classic techniques we were looking for. The winner managed to impress with the precision of his cooking and the lightness of his sauce. It can become heavy and stodgy, but his certainly wasn’t.”

Alain Roux added that the chefs "all seemed to have a shock when they saw the recipe and explanation of the challenge, but they quickly put their heads down and showed some inspiration.

"They all appeared confident and Jonnie’s dish was really creative and innovative. The specification was concise and we wanted to see how the chef had put their vision into the dish. The secret was to cook the duck correctly and create a tasty sauce. They needed great flavours but also textures were important, too.”

Meanwhile, honorary judge Hélène Darroze agreed that “it was a very challenging dish," which most of the chefs (including Jonnie) had never cooked before, "but they were calm and not stressed and there were some really good things done in the cooking."

"From the best three it was difficult to choose, but the eventual winner had cooked the meat beautifully, it was perfect and the sauce was excellent too. The kitchen was very quiet and calm without stress which I was surprised about. They were all well organised and no one was late or over running which was very good too.” 

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th April 2022

Jonnie Ferguson wins the Roux Scholarship 2022