André Garrett MCA
“ Its a fantastic opportunity for any young chef to give themselves a chance to open another door in their career.”
André Garrett won the Roux Scholarship in 2002 at the age of 30. He did his stage at Guy Savoy in Paris. He is now Executive Chef at the Corinthia Hotel, London.
Born and brought up in Bath, André Garrett always knew he would become a chef after seeing his grandmother working at the iconic Pump Room Restaurant in the city, where he used to visit with his mother and see the chefs in the kitchen. He went on to train at City of Bath College, before working as a commis chef at Hunstrete House Hotel for two years. From there, the bright lights of London beckoned, and he landed a job at Simply Nico, under Nico Ladenis rising through the ranks to become a chef de partie then moving to the then two-starred Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane for a further two years. In 1995, he took the role of chef de partie under Bruno Loubet at Bistrot Bruno in Soho, working there for two years, before being tempted back to Nico Central as sous chef. He was then thrust into the chef role by a chance happening – at 26, he was the youngest ever to lead one of Nico’s restaurant’s kitchen.
In 2000, André joined Chris Galvin’s brigade at The Orrery in Marylebone as senior sous chef. Chris encouraged André to enter competitions and, in 2002, he won the scholarship. Shortly afterwards, he was made head chef at The Orrery, retaining the Michelin star. In 2006, André joined Galvin at Windows where he stayed for the next eight years and was key to making the restaurant one of the most celebrated restaurants in London, being awarded a Michelin star in 2010. During this time, André was awarded the Master of Culinary of Arts in 2005 and competed in the Bocuse d’Or in 2007, placing tenth.
André took the next step in his career in 2013 and became executive head chef at Cliveden House Hotel, in Berkshire. Here, he oversaw the refurbishment and relaunch of the restaurant as André Garrett at Cliveden and was voted best newcomer in the Good Food Guide 2015 and awarded three AA rosettes.
In 2019, André returned to London to take up the role of executive chef at The Corinthia Hotel, where he heads up the Northall Restaurant, as well as overseeing the five-red-AA star, 283-bedroom hotel’s other food and beverage operations (apart from Kerridge’s Bar & Grill).
Since 2017, André has been a judge for the Roux Scholarship, bringing his experience of competitions and talent for classic cuisine to the panel.
Where did you do your stage?.
I wanted to go to Paris; I wanted that whole Paris thing and to eat out as much as I could, but also I wanted to be close to London. Guy Savoy was the perfect choice for me. He had had two stars for a long time and had just gone to three in 2002. He’s an interesting chef in many ways: deeply classical and there are dishes like his artichoke velouté with truffle butter that have been on his menu since day one and that people keep going back for and that intrigued me. But equally there was a lot of forward thinking and my time in his kitchen was fantastic and I saw and tasted new things every day.
What did you cook in the final?
I can remember my final like it was yesterday; the six of us cooked pot roast guinea fowl with foie gras, sauerkraut and pommes nouvelles, it was a beautiful dish and something I relished in as soon as I read the brief.
How many times did you enter?
It was the first time I entered, and I was 29 so last chance, I had to cook my heart out, no other option.
What do you remember most about the competition the year you won?
I remember it was a rush to enter, I was working with Chris at the Orrery and he asked “Who is entering the Roux this year?” as someone always did. I said “Me, I hope!” The regionals were tough and getting to the finals was awesome, then the day just became a blur, I loved cooking my dish and being alongside the five other great young chefs, it was a good day.
What advice would you give applicants?
Make sure your recipe is well written and flows; make sure to get mentor, or someone who’s opinion you trust, to read it through; practice it before and a number of times before the cook-off, to the clock. Most of all enjoy it, cook for yourself and believe in yourself. Nothing can beat experience in the finals, whether that be the understanding of the classical recipe or being in the final before, experience is everything.
Who are your culinary heroes?
Michel and Albert for all they have given to the UK food scene and the scholarship; Michel Jnr and Alain for the carrying on the legacy, support and friendship; Guy Savoy, Nico Ladenis, Bruno Loubet and Chris Galvin; and mostly my mother for cooking every day for us as children, instilling good work ethic and values of eating and good food.
What is it like to be a Roux Scholar?
I can honestly say that it is true that you do enter a family and I have really enjoyed meeting up with my fellow scholars, going on trips and catching up with what they have been doing. Its a fantastic opportunity for any young chef, to give themselves a chance to open another door in their career.
Tell us about your current role?
I’m currently running the luxury five-star Corinthia London Hotel, looking after the Northall restaurant and putting that back on the culinary map but also running the whole F&B operation of this 289-bedroom hotel. The boundaries are endless in what can be achieved in a hotel of this level and everyday there is something different and amazing.
What have been your career highlights so far?
There have been so many highlights in my career: moving to London, working for Nico Ladenis, winning the Roux Scholarship, competing for my country, becoming an MCA, Michelin stars and now being the chef of a grand luxury London hotel.