Hildon were the proud sponsors of the Roux Scholarship on the 26th March 2018 and can only hope for this successful partnership to continue.
In the final of the Roux Scholarship the chefs were asked to prepare and serve Pigeonneaux Valenciennes-style, with a vin jaune sauce. Martin Carabott the 29-year-old chef who was a national finalist in 2016 and 2017 was battling it out against Ben Champkin from L’Enclume, Cumbria; Oliver Marlow from Roganic, London; Sam Nash from L’Enclume, Cumbria; Fergus Wilford from Cliveden House, Berkshire, and Ryan Porter from Northcote, Lancashire.
Commenting on the 35th national final, Alain Roux said: “As with all the Scholarship final recipes, there is a core challenge at its heart, this time to debone a pigeon which is a small, fiddly bird. To perform this successfully took not only skill but also time and careful planning. This recipe was a real challenge, but the winner was outstanding.”
Winner Martin Carabott said: “I’d been in the national final for the last two years but this was much more difficult this year. It really doesn’t get any easier with experience, there’s always something unexpected. There’s always pressure when you are watched by these superstar chefs. You need to be disciplined and focused.”
The six chefs, all under 30 years old, had three hours to cook the Auguste Escoffier-inspired recipe, in front of the judges. Three-Michelin starred chef Michel Guérard, honorary president of the judges, led the panel alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Jr. They were joined by Brian Turner, head scholar Andrew Fairlie as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar) and Sat Bains (1999 scholar). This year saw the return of Angela Hartnett to the judging panel, and two new judges Clare Smyth and Rachel Humphrey. André Garrett (2002 scholar) stood down from judging this year because finalist Fergus Wilford is in his brigade.
The winner was announced at a glittering awards ceremony at The Langham, London, in front of an audience of top chefs and prestigious guests from the world of hospitality.