Chef proprietor at 1 Michelin star, Drakes, Ripley.
Trained with Marc Veyrat at the L’Auberge De L’Eridan, Lake Annecy.
When I won the scholarship I wanted to go somewhere different. I’d had 3 star experience already in London with chefs like Marco Pierre White and Nico Ladenis so in a sense I knew what to expect.
I thought it would be fun to go somewhere to work under someone who was pushing the boundaries and that turned out to be Mark Veyrat in Annecy du Lac in Savoie. He was one of the first chefs to start doing tasting menus which many other top French chefs were critical off at the time. I thought it was great.
What I really learnt during my time there was more about the whole picture, the operation and I wanted to run my own place later so I tried to learn as much as I could about the whole business.
The food was very simple and relied on the quality and simplicity of the ingredients. Tasting menus would often run to 20 courses and there was absolutely tons of crockery, glassware and cutlery to go with it. One of the greatest dishes was a John Dory dish that was cooked on the bone and then served on stones that had been collected and kept in the oven so they were really hot. The guest ate the fish off the stone and when the juices ran out they sizzled on the hot stone. The only accompaniment was a simple mountain herb from up the hillside but so many of the dishes were like this and the whole experience was just a symphony of flavours.
I think the experience made me realise that things are achievable. I mean Mark Veyrat achieved it and that gave me the confidence to take the plunge when the time was right.
I really enjoy being a Roux Scholar. Its great to meet up with the others and have a laugh and talk about what we do and go on the trips that Michel organises. The recent trip to Germany was an inspired choice.