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Martin Carabott wins title of 35th Roux Scholar

Martin Carabott has been crowned 35th Roux Scholar after a fiercely competitive final that took place yesterday at Westminster Kingsway College in London.

The contest saw all six finalists prepare and serve Pigeonneaux Valenciennes-style with a vin juane sauce – an Auguste Escoffier inspired recipe.

The 29-year old Senior Sous Chef of Hide battled it out against Ben Champkin and Sam Nash of L’Enclume, Oliver Marlow of Roganic, Fergus Wilford of Cliveden House and Ryan Porter of Northcote.

Third times a charm, this was the last chance for the newly appointed Roux Scholar to enter the competition and it turned out to be the winning number!

Martin Carabott says: “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 recipe served included whole roasted pigeons stuffed with forcemeat and sweetbreads alongside spinach and carrots for garnish. The dish was then served with glazed polenta and morels timbales and accompanied by a vin jaune wine sauce. Each contestant had three hours to prepare, cook, trim and serve their dish to judges Michel Roux Jr, Alain Roux, Brian Turner, Andrew Fairlie, Simon Hulstone, Sat Bains and 2018’s Honorary President, Michel Guerard.

Commenting on the jaw-dropping 35th national final, Michel Roux Jr says: “There was a fantastic standard, six 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 also had a thing or two to say about this year’s choice of challenge adding: “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.”

Martin was announced as the winner at a sparkling awards ceremony at The Langham in London, hosted by Michel Roux Jr and Alain Roux, in front of an audience of top chefs and prestigious guests from the world of hospitality.

The Roux Scholarship 2018 film will be broadcast as part of the Saturday Kitchen on the 31st of March on BBC1 so you don’t want to miss it!

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