Spencer Metzger wins the Roux Scholarship 2019

The Staff Canteen

Spencer Metzger has won the Roux Scholarship 2019.

Spencer Metzger has taken the top spot at tonight's award ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental, to grab a place in the Roux hall of fame as the 36th Roux Scholar.

Spencer Metzger from The Ritz London  impressed this year’s judges. The finalists were tasked with cooking Monkfish blanquette and langoustines and saffron basmati rice. Spencer was rewarded with the prestigious title and joins an elite list of chefs including past winners Mark Birchall, Sat Bains and Simon Hulstone. 

Spencer said he was 'speechless' to have won the awards. 

"It's a real honour, a real privilege, I'm really happy to be part of it." 

"It was intense, it was nerve racking, but I was happy with the dish we had to cook, I love cooking blanquette." 

And although  it was stressful to be judged by such high-calibre chefs, he said that hearing their commendations left him at loss for words.

"It's a great journey to be part of whether you win it or not, you learn a lot, you learn a lot about yourself and it's great to be here."

The young chef said he couldn't have done it without his mentor, chef John Williams. 

John said he was immensely proud of Spencer, whom he considers like a son. 

He said: "He started with me when he was at school, he came when he was fifteen and I've had him since then."

"He leads the kitchen on the shop floor, he cooks amazingly well, he knows how to cook classic cooking, He will go from strength to strength." 

"People talk about the youngsters of today not having it, but when you have people like that, you know the future is bright." 

The chef said it was essential to understand classic cooking in the way that is rewarded by the Roux Scholarship, because it gives people the strong foundation needed to cook just about anything. He even admitted having shed a tear when Spencer was named the winner. 

"I know how much work goes into this. It's not about the practising, it's about the work they put into their job," he added.

Before announcing this year's winner, the Roux's paid tribute to the first ever Roux Scholar, Andrew Fairlie, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

The final took place at Westminster Kingsway College, London and 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. The monkfish dish is a recipe by the Roux family, inspired by Jules Gouffe, a pupil of Antonin Careme. 

Acclaimed Australian chef Peter Gilmore joined the panel of judges as Honorary President this year, alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Roux Jr. 

The Honorary president said: "It was incredibly inspiring to see these young guys, it's always so great to see the next generation coming up. The chefs today were so well organised, you should all be very proud."

Asked how important it is for bosses to mentor chefs, he said: "it's easy to complain about the next generation, but really, it's on us to train the next generation."

This year's other finalists were Ryan Baker, also of The Ritz in London, Olivia Catherine Burt from Claridges Hotel, Bohemia Jersey sous chef Michael Cruickshank, Cavendish Hotel Baslow head chef Adam Harper and Vacherin London sous chef Lewis Linley. 

As part of winning the Roux Scholarship, Spencer has been 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. He said that he hasn't yet decided which one he wishes to attend. 

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st April 2019

Spencer Metzger wins the Roux Scholarship 2019