Jonathan Harrison won the Roux Scholarship in 1993, at the age of 27 was the second time he had entered the competition. He did his stage at Alain Ducasse at Le Louis XV Restaurant, Monaco and is now chef-proprietor of The Sandpiper Inn, Leyburn.
Jonathan started out studying art and design in his home city of York, earning some extra cash by working at Judges Lodgings Hotel. When a chef didn't turn up for work one day, he helped out by making the starters. He then switched courses while continuing to work at the hotel, working his way up to chef de partie over four years. Jonathan then went to work in Jersey at Longueville Manor, and also did a month-long placement in Lyon at La Terrasse where the chef was Gerard Antonin, where he loved the food.
In 1987 he joined the brigade at Bilbrough Manor, a privately owned hotel in York, working under Idris Caldora, whom he followed to the Swallow Hotel in Birmingham as sous chef, where he established his own style and rose through the ranks to Chef de Cuisine at the five star hotel.
During his time there, he prepared a banquet for the G8 heads of state in Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens during the 1998 summit, with the highlight being the chance to shake hands with the heads of state.
In 1999, Jonathan opened his own business with his wife Janine in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, a location that offered a rural place to bring up their family and have a good life-work balance. The Sandpiper Inn is set in Leyburn, a country town in Wensleydale, where Jonathan promotes his ethos of using the finest local ingredients. During his time at The Sandpiper Inn he has achieved many accolades, including Yorkshire Life Dining Pub of the Year and a Michelin good food recommendation.
As well as running The Sandpiper Inn, Jonathan is involved in the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Adopt a School programme; he does demonstrations at food shows and does consultancy work, as well as some radio and TV.
What did you cook in the final?
Mousseline de salmon Alexandra with its garnishes.
Who are your culinary heroes?
Obviously the Roux family, Terry Laybourne and Frances Atkins.
What is it like to be a Roux Scholar?
There are amazing opportunities and experiences and it's also great to inspire and develop the next generation.
What advice would you give applicants?
Of course it’s about being able to write and cost a dish, but when getting ready for the competition you have to live and breathe the classics and practise mystery baskets.
Tell us about your career highlights
When I prepared a banquet for the G8 heads of state in Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens during the 1998 summit I got to shake hands with the heads of state! This was mind-blowing for a lad from a simple working class background. I've also travelled to amazing places and for my stage I lived, for a short time, a life of the rich and famous. While I was there I did a stage with Bruno Loubet, Paul Gaylor and Phillippe Antonin. I've done lots of culinary competitions, The Parade de Chefs at Hotelympia.