Alain Ducasse, Paris
Loves Restaurant, Birmingham
I had never set foot in a Michelin starred restaurant. I came from a good country house hotel background and winning was a total shock. I was in such a bubble that I didn’t even know I’d won.
Alain Ducasse was the chef who was at the forefront and suddenly from being a sous chef in a country house hotel thinking about banqueting and room service I was in one of the worlds great kitchens in the centre of Paris. It certainly opened my eyes. Kitchen life was tough to begin with. It’s a different culture over there and they like to test you but I had age on my side and I knew why I was there.
It was a fantastic experience and I’d like to do more but its hard to find the time and thats what it so great about the scholarship, they organise everything for you.
Looking back I can say that the stage definitely helped me to have the confidence to open my own place and also gave me Michelin understanding. However, I knew I had to learn more and later went to work with Gary Jones. Being the Roux Scholar definitely opened that door. I wouldn’t have got a look in otherwise.
I went on to be head chef at Mallory Court and Michel actually gave me a reference. Its definitely true that the winners of the scholarship join the Roux family. Michel has been incredible over the years. He has helped me by checking the leases on my restaurant, with recipes and ideas and has become a friend in many ways.
I couldn’t recommend entering the scholarship more highly. It’s a tremendous experience and if you win then you can write your own ticket and now literally go anywhere.
1997: Steve Love
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