Trained at 3 star Michelin Restaurant Nihonryori Ryugin, in Tokyo, with Chef Seiji Yamamoto.
Luke was head chef at Dabbous, when he won the Scholarship, and now works for Ollie Dabbous at his newest restaurant Hide* in Mayfair, which won its first Michelin star in the 2019 guide.
2017 was a golden year for Luke – winning National Chef of the Year just months after becoming the Roux Scholar in April.
When Dabbous closed he took the opportunity to go on his winner’s stage during the summer. The first winner to chose Japan, Luke enjoyed three months training at Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo with Chef Seiji Yamamoto.
Within weeks of his return from Japan Luke competed in the final of the National Chef of the Year and won.
Luke who was Young National Chef of the Year 2014 said “It was hard work, I committed to both competitions and worried I’d taken on too much but I put in a lot of hard work and it has paid off.”
Talking about his choice of Roux Scholarship winner’s stage Luke said:
“I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, I’m fascinated by the culture, the cuisine, the traditions and the complete respect for quality ingredients. The Roux Scholarship has given me a unique opportunity to train somewhere that is completely out of my comfort zone. I chose Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo and Chef Seiji Yamamoto because it is a small restaurant which offers a wide range of both traditional and modern Japanese dishes. Chef’s ethos is one of total respect for the ingredients and to use almost only what is available in Japan. It was an amazing chance for me to immerse myself in Japanese culture and learn about the produce, techniques, flavours and style.”
Alain Roux commented: “I’m fascinated by Luke’s choice, a brave and inspirational one that fully exploits the Scholarship opportunity. Luke has chosen one of the finest, most sought after Japanese 3 star Michelin restaurants, a place defined by the rare delicacy of its ingredients and the precision and incredible innovation of its techniques under Chef Seiji Yamamoto. The stage is set to be the experience of a lifetime where Luke will work with a small, elite brigade serving a tiny dining room, only 20 covers. At Restaurant Nihonryori Ryugin, Luke will also discover the real Japan, its culture, food and will fall in love with the unique tableware, as central to the food experience in Japan as the dishes themselves!”
Trevor Blyth who won the Roux Scholarship in 1996 is based in Tokyo and was a friendly face on hand to support Luke during his time in Japan.
When not working Luke had time to explore Japan, just as the Roux scholars did when they visited on the culinary educational trip in September 2012.
Luke’s Biography: For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a chef, I can honestly say without hesitation that I was born to cook. Food has always fascinated me from an early age, and most of my fondest memories are food related. I can still remember vividly, mussel collecting, crabbing and picking blackberries with my brothers where we grew up in Sussex. Growing and foraging played a huge influence in my upbringing.
My first job was a paper round which was seven days a week. On Sundays I would finish my round and then work at my local hotel cooking breakfasts. I then managed to get a job at a nearby restaurant, so after doing the breakfast shift I would go there to work the rest of my day.
I worked at this restaurant called ‘Whites’ for three years during my studies and managed to get A levels in chemistry, biology and art.
During studying for my A levels at the age of 17, I took a week’s work experience at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, I was blown away by the place. From the moment I stepped into that iconic kitchen I knew that it was here I had to train. I was offered a job with Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones and a year later at the age of 18, I started as a commis.
I rose through the ranks at Le Manoir from commis to Sous chef. In the six years I stayed I ran every section in the kitchen, the private dining room and the pass.
In my time under Gary Jones’s tutelage I entered and won the Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence in 2012, the Annual Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards in 2013 and finally the Young National Chef of the Year in 2014.
In September 2015 I left my sous chef position at Le Manoir and took a job with Clare Smyth at the three Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London.
I started as chef de partie and left one year later as junior sous.
In September 2016 I took a job with Ollie Dabbous at the self-proclaimed ‘Dabbous’ in Fitzrovia, London. Starting as senior sous Chef and rising to Head Chef within six months.
Luke won the Roux Scholarship in April 2017 and becomes one of just five previous Scholarship winners to ‘do the double’ and take the title of another prestigious cooking competition the National Chef of the Year just a few months later.