Steve started his chef journey when he attended catering college. He developed a real passion for cooking and decided to pursue this career further. He has worked at Roux for nine years, three as sous chef and the other six fulfilling the role as Head Chef.
With over 100 entries, only 10 made it to the final where they battled it out for the title. Steve was announced Chef of the Year in front of a live audience at the Restaurant Show in London. Finalists were marked on their ability to produce three high standard dishes in the space of two hours by an impressive panel of judges.
This year, the judges included well-esteemed chefs: Clare Smyth, who opened her restaurant Core by Clare Smyth in 2017 and became the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin-stars in the UK, after working for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Hospital Road. Jonny Lake formerly the Executive Head Chef at The Fat Duck before opening his own restaurant Trivet in London Bridge. Claude Bosi, French chef who opened the doors to his restaurant Bibendum in 2017. Philip Howard, one of Britain’s most admired chefs, who started as in Roux Restaurants and now runs Elysan Street in London which opened in 2016. Finally, Chantelle Nicholson, from New Zealand and now chef-patron of Tredwells in London, will conclude the judging panel.
Steve’s winning menu consisted of red mullet, shellfish, mouse and bouillabaisse sauce followed by the main course of suckling pig, Jerusalem artichokes, quince, hazelnut and trompettes. To finish, his dessert comprised of Calvados baba, honey poached pears and crème fraiche Chantilly.
In an interview with The Caterer, Steve said:
“It went well, I was happy with most of what I cooked. To be able to cook for those judges was what it’s all about – you want to be judged by the best. I was pretty stunned to win. I thought when I had not made third or second, I must have been outside the top three – I’m always my own worst critic.”
The judges defined Steve’s menu as “classicist”, saying his style was a classical approach and simplistic whilst producing amazing flavours.
Not only is it a huge honour to be awarded with the Chef of the Year title, Steve also receives one year’s membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs, £1000 voucher to spend within the Lockhart’s range, a chef’s tour of Lebanon where the three top chefs will get a culinary trip to explore the regions exciting food, wine and restaurant culture, as well as an exclusively designed winners plate and a bespoke Savernake knife.
The remaining 2020 finalists included:
Fraser Bruce, Head Chef at The Hasletown Inn, St Ives
Mehdi Lahmadi, Junior Sous Chef at Coworth Park Hotel, Ascot
Nick Edgar, Head Chef at The Ryebeck Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere
Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle, Gorebridge
Nicholas Smith, Head Chef at Vacherin, London
Harry Kirkpatrick, Sous Chef at Trinity Restaurant, Clapham, London
Ben Boeynaems, Head Chef at The Zetter Hotel, Clerkenwell
Karl O’Dell, Head Chef at Texture London, Marylebone