Paul O’Neill wins the Roux Scholarship 2013 & becomes the 30th Roux Scholar!

Paul O’Neill, senior sous chef at Ashdown Park Hotel, has become the 30th Roux Scholar. He beat off tough competition from the five other finalists who all prepared ‘Salmon Chambord style with Sauce Genevoise’ at the cook-off held at Westminster Kingsway College at the end of March.  

For the first time in the long history of this prestigious competition Paul’s win was revealed on television. UKTV channel Watch provided an unmissable opportunity for viewers to experience every step, twist and turn of The Roux Scholarship 2013 as it entered its milestone 30th year. The final episode aired on Friday 21st June and was a nail biting conclusion to the exclusive 10-part series.

The finalists had two and a half hours to cook the Escoffier inspired recipe – a whole Scottish salmon stuffed with a hake and mushroom forcemeat, braised with red wine, garnished with spinach subrics and potatoes, served with a red wine sauce. Joining the Roux family this year were a stellar line up of judges including Rick Stein, Brian Turner, Angela Hartnett, James Martin, Raymond Blanc, David Nicholls and the first ever Roux Scholar – Andrew Fairlie.

Michel Roux Jnr said: “Paul is undoubtedly a great chef and an assiduous one at that but his unflappable nature along with his generous comportment make him the perfect Roux Scholar.”

Alain Roux: “Paul’s dish was simply presented with no unnecessary garnishes and the salmon as well as all other components were cooked to perfection.”

Angela Hartnett added: “Paul is a worthy winner, His final dish was simple but tasty with each element correctly cooked and perfectly seasoned.”

Paul O’Neil, 28, speaking at the awards ceremony at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, London said: “I cannot describe the mixture of emotions I went through when my name was called out – it was without a doubt the greatest moment of my career. The chance to work in a three Michelin-starred restaurant is unbelievable”

With the guidance of the Roux family Paul has chosen to go to Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, “He has done some amazing things for the industry, I hope to learn a great deal about balance of flavours, ingredients and most of all modern techniques,” he said.

Michel Roux: “Pierre Gagnaire is one of my favourite chefs and a great friend who commands huge respect from his peers. He has a unique talent, which is evident from the success he has had in his restaurants all around the world. This experience at his flagship restaurant in Paris will transform Paul’s outlook towards food and inspire his cooking for many years to come.”

 The Roux Scholarship 2013, was shown over two weeks on Watch and was packed with real drama, tears and surprises as well as some of the most mouth-watering food to be dished up on British television. The shortlisted 18 contenders were followed throughout, as they tried their best to impress and to win the life-changing prize of a three-month apprenticeship at any three star Michelin restaurant in the world.

To appeal to keen foodies, Good Food also complimented the series with seven companion episodes focusing on masterclasses and recipes from the Roux family and the judges Rick Stein, Angela Hartnett, Brian Turner, James Martin, Raymond Blanc and Andrew Fairlie.