Maida Vale chef Oli Williamson wins Roux Scholarship
- Credit: Jodi Hinds Photography
A Maida Vale chef has won The Roux Scholarship, securing £12,000 and experience in a three-star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world.
Oli Williamson, 30, beat five other finalists on Monday (October 25) at Westminster Kingsway College, preparing two mystery dishes in just three hours.
In memory of founders Michel Roux OBE and Albert Roux OBE KFO, their sons Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr asked contestants to prepare dishes close to the Roux family's heart in the first competition since the founders' death.
The hosts applauded the winner's eggs Albert, saying Michel would have been "pleased to eat" Oli's take on his artichoke dish.
Oli, a Sous Chef at The Fat Duck in Bray, told the Ham&High: "It's incredible. It hasn't sunk in yet, it's just the start of a crazy journey.
"Three hours sounds long, but it's actually such a short amount of time, and I'm feeling it today - I feel like I've run 20k.
"You have to plan so carefully, and be smart with the ingredients, as you don't get more if you run out.
"We weren't told what the dishes were until the day, and they were really complicated, with a lot of little jobs to do in the time."
Alain Roux said: “We thought the two dishes paid respect to my father and uncle in the best possible way. They were favourites of theirs and became signature dishes.
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"They made the dishes in the very early days when they opened Le Gavroche together and we continue to serve them occasionally, even today.”
The contestants were asked to prepare Eggs Albert, in honour of Albert, an artichoke heart filled with smoked salmon, trout and truffle, topped with a poached egg and adorned with a slice of smoked salmon.
In honour of Michel, the chefs whipped up "little flans with snails in green coats", snails and herb soufflé baked in a tartlet with beurre blanc sauce.
Michel Roux Jr said: “Oli Williamson presented his Eggs Albert dish which would have pleased my dad to eat. It didn’t look like the original, but every part tasted brilliant.”
Oli is yet to choose where he will spend his scholarship training under a Michelin star chef, adding: "I'm just going to enjoy this moment and let it all sink in."