“My instant vision on the final dish was to keep it peasant-like, focus purely on the flavours, not to make fine dining, I wanted it to keep its original artisanal style, and that's what I did.”
Chris Colmer won the Roux Scholarship in 1995 at the age of 25. He did his stage with Pierre and Michel Troisgros at Troisgros in Roanne, France. It was the first time he entered the competition.
Chris developed a love of food from a young age, thanks to his mother who was a Cordon Bleu-trained home economics teacher. He first got a part-time job in catering at his local golf club before going to catering college in Peterborough.
Although Chris didn’t enjoy school, he loved catering college and cooking quickly became his passion. He excelled in the Cambridge Salon Culinaire, getting the silver prize.
His first role was in Windsor working at Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel, where the head chef was James Murphy, whose firm but fair approach helped Chris learn the basics of being a chef. This, coupled with Chris’ hunger to learn all the different sections of the kitchen, meant he fuelled his passion, and quicky moved on to a role as demi-chef de partie at Oakley Court, also in Windsor, where he was focussed on big functions. Though he wasn’t as excited by his role there, Chris got into competitions and entered the Young Chef of the Year competition where he was runner up. Through the competition, he met chef Chris Suter, who went on that year to win. Suter offered Chris a job at Bishopstrow House in Warminster, and he regained his love of cooking.
When Chris won the Roux Scholarship, he was head chef at The Greenway Hotel in Cheltenham. He then moved on to Bailiffscourt Hotel in West Sussex, where fellow Roux Scholar Martin Hadden is now executive chef.
From there, Chris went on to work at Ynyshir Hall Hotel in Wales, where he found confidence in cooking great food with great ingredients in an idyllic setting. The restaurant won three AA rosettes, and Chris also won the title National Chef of Wales, and was twice a runner-up in the Young Chef of the Year competition. Chris cites the Roux Scholarship as the highlight of his career; it allowed him to work with some of the greatest chefs in the world, Michel Troisgros.
Later, Chris left the hotel trade and worked with some of the leading retailers in Britain, which allowed him to focus this strength in bringing quality to a bigger audience. Most recently he worked as a senior development chef with Bakkavor.