Hrishikesh Desai, has been at Lucknam Park for seven years and already has many accolades to his name, winning the coveted National Chef of the Year Award in 2010 hot on the heels of his Roux Scholarship success. Desai is passionate about flavours, his love of food stems from his childhood travelling around India and his mother’s home cooking.
The School offers a unique opportunity for anyone who enjoys cooking to perfect their skills and master new techniques through a variety of innovative courses led by Hrishikesh with the guidance of Lucknam Park’s Michelin starred Executive Chef Hywel Jones.
The Cookery School is located in a small house on the estate, just a short walk from the hotel.
His courses feature a strong emphasis on fresh ingredients and nutrition, and many of the dishes include home grown seasonal produce from Lucknam Park’s kitchen garden and fresh herbs picked from the cookery school’s own herb garden.
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.
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