Gallions Reach chef to be judged by Michel Roux Jr as finalist for prestigious title
- Credit: Jodi Hinds
A Gallions Reach chef is bidding to impress culinary legends in the final of a national competition.
Ryan Baker is one of six competing to win the Roux Scholarship 2020/21, which aims to find Britain's best young chef.
The award was set up by brothers Michel and Albert Roux in the 1980s.
It is now chaired by their sons, Alain and Michel Jr, who run multi-Michelin star winning restaurants The Waterside Inn in Berkshire and Le Gavroche in London respectively.
Some of the Roux Scholarship winners have gone on to hold Michelin stars themselves, which recognise excellence in restaurants.
These include Sat Bains, who is now a judge and has previously competed on TV show Great British Menu.
Ryan, whose career goal is to become a head chef, said he feels "incredibly proud" to be in the final.
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He told the Recorder: "Lots of great chefs have been where I’ve been in the past and to be where they stood is a strange yet exciting thought."
Ryan works in central London restaurant Maison Francois and has previously been in the kitchen at prestigious hotel The Ritz.
He was inspired to get into cooking after doing a young chef competition at school and helping his mum Zoe, who was a chef, baker and cake decorator.
His advice to any budding chefs in Newham is to "find somewhere that’s willing to teach you well".
"There are plenty of good restaurants out there and don’t rush into progressing positions."
The final will take place on October 25 and Ryan said the chefs will not know what dish they will be cooking until the day, except that it will be a French classic.
He revealed he is practising at work when he can and reading up on techniques.
Asked to compare the pressures of competition cooking to his day job, Ryan said: "They are definitely different sort of pressures.
"It’s all down to me at the end of the day in a competition whereas it’s the whole team effort at work.
"Cooking a couple of dishes and to be told yes or no is quite brutal, especially as it's what I love to do."
He will be supported on the day by his mum, girlfriend Tiffany and Steven Carter, his former head chef at Boodles gentleman's club in London where Ryan started.