Executive Head Chef, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House. Lake District.
Hrishikesh Desai, was at Lucknam Park when he won the Roux Scholarship. He is passionate about flavours, his love of food stems from his childhood travelling around India and his mother’s home cooking.
Following his win on BBC 2’s Alex Polizzi: Chefs on Trial, Hrishikesh moved to Gilpin Hotel in the spring of 2015. He beat off stiff competition in the final, following a rigorous interview process and tough culinary assessments.
He has a wealth of experience including Institute Paul Bocuse, Les Maison de Bricourt (2*), Le Chateau do Bagnol (1*), French Laundry (3*), and Lucknam ‘The Park’ (1*). He is one of the few chefs to have won both the Roux Scholarship (2009) and the Craft Guild of Chef’s National Chef of the Year (2010), unique in that he won these in consecutive years.
Not only does he have a unique blend of skills and experience he is a man of true humility and fits in perfectly with the ethos of a family business.
Hrishikesh says of his move: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this exciting new role, this is the job I’ve always wanted. The opportunity to work at a Relais & Châteaux hotel with such a superb reputation is genuinely a dream come true. As viewers of the programme will have seen, it was an intense and at times emotional process, but I’m so thankful to have the chance to come to the fabulous Lake District and create some and inspirational new menus in my own distinctive style.”
Commenting on his experience of winning The Roux Scholarship Hrishikesh said: “Ever since looking at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry cookbook I had dreamed of one day going there. When Michel asked me after I won where I would like to go I said The French Laundry without even thinking about it. I didn’t even know that I had to choose a place in Europe.
It was incredibly brave and forward thinking of the scholarship to look at sending me to California and now that they have opened up the world to the winning scholar it is a very exciting time.
I thought The French Laundry was amazing. At first I was disappointed that I could not do as much real cooking but later realised that Thomas Keller was right to make me learn the French Laundry way first and there is a special way they have of doing things.
The whole place just exudes confidence and a love and respect for the ingredient. From the garden across the road to every ingredient that comes in such as fish flown in from Japan everything gets broken down and cooked in a certain way and that is what I learnt and it is an incredible lesson.”
“Winning the scholarship has given me confidence, opened up my eyes to a wider world and shown me that hard work and endeavor can pay off. Lucknam Park, my employers and my chef Hywel Jones have been very generous and kind to me and I felt I owed it to them to return their investment in me by staying in my role as head chef of the Brasserie. With my new experience I am learning to build a team for the first time and am starting to do things the way I learnt at The French Laundry.
The future holds a lot of promise for me and being a Roux scholar means that I can draw on a lot of experience from within the scholar family and from the Roux family too.”
Hrishikesh wins the National Chef of the year 2010
Hrishikesh joins fellow Roux Scholars Steve Love and Simon Hulstone who have also both won this coveted award. “It is phenomenal. Winning these competitions and being called one of the top chefs in the country is an amazing achievement for me, especially coming from India,” he says.