By Faith Eckersall.
A former Salisbury schoolboy has won the chance to compete for one of the world’s most prestigious culinary titles.
Max Davies, who now lives and works in Edinburgh, has got through the first round of the 2023 Roux Scholarship for young chefs.
Max, who lived in the village of Ludgershall and attended primary school there, underwent a rigorous selection process in early March. He was tasked with submitting a written recipe using prescribed ingredients, including a striploin of dry-aged beef, a beef offal ingredient and Belgian white chicory.
These were submitted anonymously to the judges, who included Michael Roux Jr, Alain Roux, TV star James Martin and Angela Hartnett OBE, whose restaurant is in the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest.
“When they tell you the basic ingredients you are constantly thinking ‘what shall I do’ because you have to produce something that you would be able to create in the time-frame if you’re called to produce it in the next round,” said Max. His recipe included keeping the beef rare and searing the chicory.
For the regional final, which was due to take place in Birmingham and in Ealing, London, on March 9, competitors had two-and-a-half hours to cook their dish, as well as produce a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients given to them on the day.
The judges will be looking for recipes and methods which demonstrate the best balance of creativity, taste, style and practicality in the finished dish.
If he is selected Max, who works at Aizle in Edinburgh, will go through to the finals, in London on April 3.
Max, who decided to become a chef after his grandfather bought him his first set of chef’s whites and knives, said: “I know some of the other chefs taking part and they’re all really high calibre but I won’t get much time to see what they’re doing, because I’ll be concentrating so hard on my own work.”
Winners of the Roux Scholarship have frequently gone on to win Michelin stars, as well as work in the world’s most highly-regarded restaurants.