Andrew Fairlie was chef patron of 2 star Michelin Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, at Gleneagles, Scotland. Andrew sadly passed away in January 2019.
As the first winner of the The Roux Scholarship in 1984, Andrew had a huge influence on the competition as ‘Head Scholar’ and as a judge. Andrew embodied the values, qualities and talent of the scholarship. He inspired countless other chefs to be part of the competition and to push themselves for success, mentoring and supporting them. In the case of the other scholars and fellow judges, he was a dear friend, and to the Roux Family, he was another son. His kindness, generosity and warmth will be missed by all of us and we will treasure our memories of him.
Michel Roux O.B.E. said on 22nd January 2019: “Today the Roux Scholarship family mourns the loss of our first scholar, the fearless and brilliant Andrew Fairlie. Our heart goes out to his family and Gleneagles team. To me, Andrew was like a son and to our scholars and judges, a brother. But death is never the end. Andrew knew we would always carry him with us and his precious legacy will endure.”
Andrew did his winning stage with Michel Guérard at Les Pres d’Eugenie, an experience he treasured for the rest of his life. The chefs were reunited several times, and on two occasions for the Roux Scholarship itself; when fellow scholar Matthew Tomkinson chose to do his stage with Michel Guérard, the chefs accompanied by Michel Roux OBE travelled to Les Près d’Eugenie for a story in The Caterer. Then in 2018, Michel Guérard took part in the competition as Honorary President of Judges and Andrew and Chef Guérard returned to a kitchen together.
Andrew often spoke of how the Roux Scholarship changed his life, here he described the experience on the 21st anniversary of the competition in 2005:
“When I was encouraged by my chef Keith Podmore to enter this new competition that the Roux brothers had started back in 1984 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.”