2012

Adam Smith

I loved the challenge of my time in Paris at Le Meurice, both in the kitchen and the culture of living in the French capital.   

Adam won in 2012 at the age of 24. He staged with Yannick Alléno at Le Meurice, Paris, and is now Executive Chef, at Coworth Park, Berkshire.

Originally from Birmingham, Adam started his kitchen career washing pots at his local restaurant aged 13. When a couple of the chefs didn’t show up for work one day, he found himself helping out with the cooking and discovered he liked being at the hotplate. Once he finished school, Adam went on to train at University College in Birmingham, completing his NVQ 1&2, before heading off to the bright lights of London at the tender age of 16, but it was there that his culinary training really began.

Adam’s lucky break was his opportunity to work with Chef John Williams MBE at The Ritz in London and became an integral part of the team. By the time he left nine years later, Adam was executive sous chef of the hotel and second in command John Williams, leading of a brigade of 65 chefs.

Adam was no stranger to competitions and awards when he won the Roux Scholarship: he won a gold medal at the 2009 WorldSkills competition in Calgary; he assisted Roux Scholars André Garrett and Simon Hulstone as commis chef at the Bocuse d’Or in 2007 and 2009 respectively. In 2010 he was selected to represent the English National Culinary Team at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg, winning a gold medal in the Restaurant of Nations and won the Craft Guild of Chefs Young Chef of the Year award. He was an Acorn Award winner in 2011, then in 2012 he won both the Observer Food Monthly Young Chef of The Year and the Roux Scholarship.

In 2013, Adam moved to The Devonshire Arms in Yorkshire, during this time the estate’s acclaimed restaurant The Burlington Restaurant was the only new restaurant to be awarded a coveted four AA rosettes in the January 2015 guide.

In July 2016, Adam moved to take over the reins as executive chef at Coworth Park, earning a Michelin star a year later for Restaurant Coworth Park and 4 AA rosettes. Adam also oversees the two-rosette casual dining restaurant The Barn, as well as the Bar, Spatisserrie in the hotel’s spa, in-room dining and four banqueting rooms. With a mantra throughout his career that ‘taste is king’ Adam’s style of food echoes classical French combinations with his own modern style, techniques and presentation.

 


 


Where did you do your stage?

Yannick Alléno at Le Meurice, Paris, I chose to go and work with Yannick because I had one of his books called 4 seasons at Table No5, it still remains one of my favourites. I loved the challenge of my time in Paris at Le Meurice, both in the kitchen and the culture of living in the French capital.   

What did you cook in the final?

Turbotin jubilee; a whole braised turbot, with lobster mousseline, scallops and caviar, garnished with artichoke bottoms and asparagus tips, served with a champagne sauce. The pressure of cooking such a dish in the final of the best cooking completion in the UK is eminent; you have to constantly question everything that you do, it came to my time to serve and I wasn’t happy with the cooking of the fish, people were pushing me to serve but I had to hold it back and served my dish slightly later that I should have, however the gamble paid off as the feedback from the judges was that the fish was perfectly cooked.  

How many times did you enter?

I only ever had to enter the Roux Scholarship once, as I was fortunate that I won at my first attempt.

What do you remember most about the competition the year you entered?

The most vivid memory that I have that stands out in my mind was on the morning of the final, sitting in the room waiting to get given the dish for that year; the relief I felt when I read the recipe and was familiar with the technique from my classical training.

What advice would you give applicants?

I would say to anyone looking to enter or who has entered a couple of things, firstly enjoy it and try your best to relax; secondly, remember the basics and do them well.

Who are your culinary heroes?

What Michel Roux Sr and Albert Roux did for gastronomy in the UK is amazing and I have always admired them and others who work tirelessly to achieve something they believe in so strongly. Another of my culinary heroes has to be John William MBE, having worked for him for nearly ten years. He was not only a teacher and a mentor but the finest example of a chef there this, with his knowledge of food, cooking and what it takes to make things happen.   

What’s it like to be a Roux Scholar?

To be part of the Roux Scholarship family from day one after winning, to this day, is a real honour and something I am very very proud of.  

Tell us about your current role?

At Coworth Park, I oversee a team of nearly 50 chefs looking after the Michelin-starred and 4 AA rosette Restaurant Coworth Park the two-Rosette casual dining restaurant The Barn, as well as the Bar, Spatisserie in the hotel’s spa, in-room dining and four banqueting rooms.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Achieving a Michelin star in October 2017; it was something I had always wanted to do from starting out in the industry, this was a true testament to the team I work with and all the people who helped me so far in my career.