A CHEF from Leamington survived the heat of competition in the kitchen to land the country’s most prestigious cooking title.
Harry Guy, who works at Mallory Court Hotel, yesterday won the 2016 Roux Scholarship in London, the country’s top award for up and coming chefs.
The 26 year-old saw off five other finalists – in a challenge which saw them given three hours to prepare and serve Norfolk black chicken cooked en croûte, cardoon gratin and tarragon sauce – to take the title which includes the opportunity to work in any three Michelin star restaurant anywhere in the world for three months.
The six chefs, all under 30 years-old had three hours to cook the Escoffier inspired recipe in front of the judges, who included the legendary three Michelin star French chef Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr, James Martin, Brian Turner, the first scholar Andrew Fairlie, as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone and André Garrett.
The former North Leamington School pupil first cut his teeth at Mallory Court in 2007, spending six years working under the Eden Hotel Collection’s food and beverage director, Simon Haigh, who Harry describes as his ‘biggest influence’.
He went on to work with Simon Rogan at his flagship two Michelin Star Cumbrian restaurant L’Enclume before returning to Mallory Court on Harbury Lane last October.
He is now support and development chef, which aside from cooking, involves everything from advising on the costing of menus to recruitment.
Harry, who was inspired to become a chef while working as a pot washer in a hotel in Princethorpe as a 14-year-old, was still coming to terms with his potentially life-changing success when he spoke to The Observer.
“It has not sunk in yet,” said the Cubbington resident.
“I was happy with what I had produced but then you start talking to the other finalists and you start to doubt yourself.”
“It’s taken a lot of hours and it has been very stressful, but it’s certainly all been worth it. To be named alongside the previous scholars is a great honour.
“I’ve got some big decisions to make and want to talk to the Roux brothers before I decide anything.”
Commenting on the 33rd national final, Michel Roux Jr said: “At first sight it could seem like this was a straightforward and simple dish. However there were a lot of potential banana skins and Harry’s dish showed exceptional all round skills.”
Mr Gagnaire was impressed with Harry’s skill in the kitchen.
“The winner was obviously stressed but in a positive way and he channeled this into his cooking. He had the intelligence to perfectly combine and balance all the elements of his dish. His semi-final dishes also stood out so this made it three out of three. He will make an excellent Roux Scholar.”