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Martin Carabott crowned 35th Roux Scholar

Martin Carabott crowned 35th Roux Scholar

Martin Carabott won the 2018 Roux Scholarship in a fiercely contested final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London last week [26 March].

The 29-year-old chef* - who was a national finalist in 2016 and 2017 - battled it out against Ben Champkin from L’Enclume, Cumbria; Oliver Marlow from Roganic, London; Sam Nash from L’Enclume, Cumbria; and Ryan Porter from Northcote, Lancashire.

Commenting on the 35th national final - where the competitors were asked to prepare and serve Pigeonneaux Valenciennes-style, with a vin jaune sauce - Michel Roux Jr said: “There was a fantastic standard, with highly motivated and talented chefs. They all struggled with the boning of the pigeon, which was a real challenge and not something often found on a menu, but it required a classic skill and that’s what The Roux Scholarship is all about.”

Alain Roux added: “As with all the Scholarship final recipes, there is a core challenge at its heart, this time to debone a pigeon which is a small, fiddly bird.  To perform this successfully took not only skill but also time and careful planning. This recipe was a real challenge, but the winner was outstanding.”

Winner Martin Carabott said: “I’d been in the national final for the last two years but this was much more difficult this year. It really doesn’t get any easier with experience, there’s always something unexpected. There’s always pressure when you are watched by these superstar chefs. You need to be disciplined and focused.”

The finalists, all under 30 years old, had three hours to cook the Auguste Escoffier-inspired recipe, in front of the judges. Three-Michelin starred chef Michel Guérard, honorary president of the judges, led the panel alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Jr. They were joined by Brian Turner, head scholar Andrew Fairlie as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar) and Sat Bains (1999 scholar). This year saw the return of Angela Hartnett to the judging panel, and two new judges Clare Smyth and Rachel Humphrey.

As the winner, Martin receives £6000 and an invitation to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a prestigious three star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world for up to three months. This is in addition to an impressive list of prizes and culinary experiences.

For further information, visit www.rouxscholarship.co.uk

* Martin is senior sous chef at Ollie Dabbous’ new London restaurant Hide, which opens later this month.

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