Andrew Fairlie, chef patron of 2 star Michelin Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, at Gleneagles, Scotland.
Trained with Michel Guerard at Les Prés d’Eugenie
Andrew, the first winner of The Roux Scholarship who now judges the competition, is an inspiration to all the chefs that have followed in his footsteps.
Andrew said: “In a country with such a rapidly expanding list of great restaurants, this is a real honour and actually quite humbling. The award is all the more meaningful as it is really difficult to get recognition at this level outside London – apparently we are the first restaurant North of Oxford to even reach the top five.
Andrew Fairlie’s 50-cover restaurant is the only one in Scotland to hold two-Michelin-stars and has steadily risen in stature since he arrived at Gleneagles 11 years ago. The establishment came top in the 2012 Sunday Times Food List. The ambitious chef puts his success down to concentrating on good food rather than gimmicks and fads. He says: “Our customers like that we have evolved without going off and following trends. Some new techniques I can use, but with others I just think ‘no’. It’s about having confidence in your menu.”
The Sunday Times Food List ranks Britain’s top 100 restaurants strictly by the quality of their food, and is compiled from marks and comments from real diners. This year’s list has been compiled from over 75,000 individual reports.
Karen Robinson, Editor of The Sunday Times Food List, says “Andrew Fairlie’s insistence on using the finest ingredients, available from local Scottish hillsides and waters, and the way he introduces exotic influences while never blindly following trends, make his food exceptional. And he’s disproved the commonly held belief that golf and good food don’t mix.
“His top placing also shows that high class food is a nationwide phenomenon now, not just an exclusive experience for London foodies. In fact, seven of The Sunday Times top 100 are in Scotland.”
Quote from Andrew Fairlie: “This is really a testament to the hard work of my brilliantly talented and loyal team, and our efforts to constantly improve and move forward. It couldn’t come at a better time after such an exceptionally busy year.”
When I was encouraged by my chef Keith Podmore to enter this new competition that the Roux brothers had started back in 1985 I had no idea the huge influence the scholarship would have on my career and life.
I had applied, unsuccessfully for a commis position in a number of kitchens in France. At that time it was unheard of for a British chef to gain entry into a 3* Michelin in France, so winning the scholarship at the age of 20 was both terrifying and exciting. Now 21 years on it makes me immensely proud to see how the scholarship has evolved into THE most influential, worthwhile and most sought after culinary prize in Britain today. But it’s not just about winning a competition, it’s about joining a very elite chefs club and taking on the responsibility of being a Roux Scholar. I can honestly say that I would not have been as successful if I had not won the scholarship and all the support it has given me over the years.
It was a great honor after the 21st anniversary to be invited to join the judging panel of the scholarship, the fact that I was replacing Victor Ceserani who was a judge when I won the scholarship made it all the more special. When I look at the quality of the past and present judges, not to mention the list of previous winners its not a role that I take lightly.
I am looking forward to seeing the scholarship continue to grow over the next 21 years, and the opportunity to welcome more talented young chefs into the Scholars Club