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Chef Gut instinct

The first half hour is a bloody mess as the final- ists eviscerate their hares and drain the blood from the carcass. “I’ve cooked a similar sauce before, but I’ve not cooked a hare like this,” Martin admits. “I think the hardest element is understanding what the dish should look like – they need to get their heads around that first. I reckon that’s the secret to winning this one: have in your head what the dish should look like and then work backwards. The butch- ery is key, though,” he adds. Pic is transfixed by Dabbous head chef and

finalist Luke Selby’s saddle, which he is wrap- ping methodically in the supplied bandages.

About the winner: Luke Selby Brian Turner

“I think he was quietly impressive. He was in total control from start to finish, but not exuberantly so. What impressed me most was the way he put that ballotine together. It set him apart from the rest. The others were chopping theirs, but Luke was doing thin slices of liver and back fat, which he layered the farce with. That was interesting. “Secondly, I love his personality. He seems like a really nice lad and that came through in the food. You felt he wouldn’t be prone to outrageousness and that he was in control of himself and the dish. As the hours marched on I felt he was turning into a worthy scholar.”

Andrew Fairlie “He was so calm and so meticulous. He was the last finalist to go into the kitchen, which is probably the worst position to be in, yet he showed no panic. I particularly liked the way he dealt with the hare. It was all done with surgical precision. He laid out every organ neatly after he had eviscerated it, with a quiet confidence.”

Sat Bains “Such a worthy winner – I think he’ll be a great role model. He’s got a great career ahead of him. I loved the fact that his fel- low finalist, Ollie Downey, said that he was the best winner and that he couldn’t have lost to a nicer guy. That just about summed up the day – the camaraderie was great this year. His seasoning was spot-on – it was the best dish of the day. We were all impressed with his discipline. He was very clean in his approach, and worked well within his own timeframe. He’ll fit right in.”

Simon Hulstone “Luke really knew what he was doing. I loved the way he stepped back and thought about things before continuing. Everything was laid out in front of him first, like a Lego kit. If I was training anyone to do a com- petition like this, that’s how I would have done it. He was a clear winner.”

30 | The Caterer | 28 April 2017

Yes, medical bandages. “It’s the most effective way to keep the farce in and everything tightly rolled,” explains Roux Jr. Though with patches of blood seeping through Selby’s saddle, it’s now looking alarmingly like a severed limb on a surgeon’s operating table. “This is fascinating,” whispers Pic. “I don’t get to do this kind of thing very often because I just don’t get the time, but it’s very inter- esting to see how the finalists work and how they will present their finished dishes. I love hare. We offer it at the restaurant in Valence in two different ways – as hare royale, which we do the original way, where you cook it for 36 hours; and another recipe, where the hare is served pink. It tastes completely different, but I like it done both ways.”

The classic hare royale – or lièvre à la roy-

ale – is a kind of civet, or salmis of hare, and it was the pinnacle of haute cuisine back in the day, lauded by the world’s first celebrity chef, Antonin Carême. By the turn of the century, there were two schools of thought on how to prepare the dish. There was famous French senator Aristide Couteaux’s version, with its 30 cloves of garlic and 60 shallots, slow-cooked in two bottles of Chambertin and producing a thick sauce. And there was Henri Babinski’s version, from his book Gastronomie Pratique, which eschewed the heavy use of shallots and garlic in favour of truffles and foie gras.

The prizes

Luke Selby receives £6,000 to support his career development, and an invitation to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, anywhere in the world, for up to three months. In addition, he also receives: ●A gift box of dry-aged steaks, courtesy of Aubrey Allen.

●Two personalised, Roux Scholarship chef’s jackets, courtesy of Bragard UK.

●An invitation for two to Rick Stein’s in Padstow, including two nights’ accommodation at either the Seafood Restaurant or St Petroc’s hotel, a three- course dinner with a bottle of wine at the Seafood Restaurant and two places on a one-day cookery course at Padstow Seafood School, courtesy of Bridor.

●A year’s subscription to print and digital editions of The Caterer for one year, plus two tickets to the Cateys.

●A classic collection of Global Knives and a range of accessories: peeler, fishbone tweezers, tongs, scissors and whetstone sharpener, all contained in a chef’s case.

●Four VIP tickets to the Goodwood Revival Festival, plus three cases of Still Hildon Natural Mineral Water, delivered to his home each month for a year, from Hildon Natural Mineral Water.

●Complimentary membership of the Institute of Hospitality for one year.

●An exclusive Magnum of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut, signed by all the judges.

●An all-expenses-paid trip for two to visit the wine cellars of Laurent-Perrier at Tours-sur- Marne, travel by Eurostar and overnight accommodation with dinner and breakfast.

●A coffee machine, plus a trip for two to visit the award-winning Caffé Musetti roasting factory, with flights, transfers and a night’s accommodation in Milan, courtesy of L’Unico.

●A tour of Rungis market in Paris with Mash Purveyors’ team of buyers, including travel and overnight accommodation, plus an invitation to Mash Purveyors’ Mashup Festival of Food in September.

●A day’s work experience with Steve Groves, MasterChef: The Professionals’ winner, at Roux at Parliament Square, followed by dinner for two in the restaurant, courtesy of Restaurant Associates.

●A day at TRUEfoods followed by a food tour of Barcelona, includes flights, meals and three nights’ accommodation.

●A day of game shooting with one night’s accommodation, including dinner and breakfast, courtesy of Udale Speciality Foods. The Roux family’s version is inspired by

Carême’s earlier version, as Roux Jr explained, and includes calves’ liver, a modest four shal- lots and eight garlic cloves, and a sauce laced with pig’s blood and chocolate. “What’s important is that the forcemeat should be cut with a knife. It shouldn’t be a mousse style – we’re looking for texture,” observes Alain, before peering over a contest- ant’s shoulder. “You don’t want to use too much chocolate in the sauce,” says Nicholls softly, watching a

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