Luke Selby wins the Roux Scholarship 2017

The Staff Canteen

Luke Selby has won the Roux Scholarship 2017

There were six strong finalists but Luke, who has also previously won Young National Chef of the Year, took the top spot at tonight's award ceremony at the Langham, to grab a place in the Roux hall of fame.

The head chef of Dabbous impressed this year’s judges and was rewarded with the prestigious title. Luke is no stranger to competition, Under Gary Jones’ tutelage, Luke entered and won the Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence in 2012, the Annual Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards in 2013 and finally the Young National Chef of the Year in 2014.

Luke also joins an elite list of chefs including past winners Andrew Fairlie, Sat Bains and Simon Hulstone. Speaking to The Staff Canteen he said: "I'm still shell-shocked! When they called my name I was looking around thinking there must be another Luke."

He added: "I've been out of competitions for a year now but the time now is right for me. The Roux Scholarship is something I always wanted to be a part of. The Roux family are huge figures in the industry and I've looked  up to them ever since I was little."

On the competition itself, he said: "It was hard, it's one of the few competitions which is a proper test of cooking skills and cooking ability. You go in there not knowing what you are going to do and it's classic, really classic.

"Winning is like it was meant to be, we are closing Dabbous and having a little break for three months and then the new venture will open at the end of this year."

Chef patron of Dabbous, Olly Dabbous told The Staff Canteen he was thrilled for Luke. He said: "He's a great chef and a great person - he thoroughly deserves it and I'm very proud of him. Hats off to the other finalists as well, it's hard, hard challenge."

The final took place at Westminster Kingsway College, London and this year the recipe details were a complete surprise; 30 minutes before the start of the competition the finalists were given the recipe and ingredients for the main dish to prepare and present it to the judges.

This year's other finalists were: Martin Carabott, Luca Restaurant, Clarkenwell, London, Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey, Scott Dineen, BaxterStorey, London, Oliver Downey, Fera at Claridge’s, Mayfair, London, Matthew Whitfield, The Driftwood Hotel, Portscatho, Cornwall

Three Michelin-starred Anne-Sophie Pic who has recently opened Le Dame de Pic in London at the Four Seasons, was the Honorary President of the Judges this year and said: "It was a great honour to be asked to be a member of the judging panel. The Roux family and the Pic family are very close and it was beautiful to be  a part of the final and see how passionate and focused all the finalists were."

Michel Roux Jr asked if she would be pushing her female chefs to enter next year and she laughed 'why not?'.

As part of winning the Roux Scholarship, Luke is invited to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a prestigious three-star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world for up to three months and Luke says he would like to go to Japan. 

Before the ceremony started Michel Roux Jr paid tribute to Victor Ceserani MBE, author of Practical Cookery, saying: "He was a father to his students and the Roux family were first in line."  

Commenting on the 34th national final and all of the past scholars, Michel Roux Jr said: “We are proud that all of our scholars are highly regarded as leaders in their field involved in shaping and changing how the hospitality industry evolves."

Alain Roux added about the finalists: “They are all extremely talented cooks but they wouldn't be here without the backing of their employers."    

>>> Everything you need to know about the Roux Scholarship 2017 

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

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th April 2017

Luke Selby wins the Roux Scholarship 2017