Young chefs tantalise legendary restauranteur Roux’s tastebuds

Hawick trainee chefs Ainsley Casson and Chris Mitchell with Albert Roux
Hawick trainee chefs Ainsley Casson and Chris Mitchell with Albert Roux

two budding Teri chefs have been cooking up a storm for legendary restauranteur and chef Albert Roux OBE.

Ainsley Casson and Chris Mitchell both tasted success in the heats of the Border Union Bicentenary Roux Apprentice Award, and Tuesday’s final at Borders College saw the young Hawick culinary aces being joined by four fellow students in turning up the heat in the kitchen in a bid to secure the first prize of a £6,000 bursary and a six-month placement at Michelin-star chef Andrew Fairlie’s Gleneagles restaurant.

The winner will also cook alongside Mr Roux and several other Michelin-starred chefs at a special BUAS bicentenary banquet at Springwood Park, Kelso, in July.

Vicky MacDonald, Borders College’s programme leader for hospitality, said: “This is an incredible opportunity for our students. It has encouraged them to use their creativity and abilities to the full in devising new dishes for the competition and the six finalists have produced some amazing food to reach this stage.”

Ainsley and Chris created two dishes for Mr Roux using seasonal and local ingredients in the cook-off which was supported by Scotch Lamb.

Mr Roux commented: “It is a pleasure to be in the Scottish Borders to judge this award. Glen Watson, one of my chef consultants, has been closely involved in the development and judging of this contest to date.

“Originally from Kelso and a former student at this college, he is a passionate advocate of Borders food and we both really enjoyed tasting the dishes the students prepared.”

As well as Ainsley and Chris, the other students who took part in the final were: Andy Thomson from Earlston; Melrose’s Paulo Neves; Jessica Mead from St Boswells; and Galashiels’ Lynn Frizzell.

The winner of the apprentice award, which is being run in association with Borders College, will be announced by the BUAS before its bicentenary banquet.