Michelin apprenticeship awarded

The Border Union (BUAS) Bicentenary Roux Apprentice Award has been given to a lucky winner who will take on a six-month apprenticeship with Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie.

Paulo Neves from Melrose was the overall winner and will be starting the apprenticeship at Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, a prestigious two-starred Michelin restaurant.

The announcement came after the six finalists cooked for Albert Roux OBE, one of the first chefs to be awarded three Michelin stars, along with his brother Michel.

Neves was “over the moon” at the announcement and despite the high pressure in a Michelin-starred restaurant, Fairlie has assured him he will not be working in a “loud and testosterone-charged” kitchen.

“There is still a lot of pressure, but it’s a different kind of pressure that comes with the degree of precision we aim for. I have worked in some brutal kitchen environments and the sort of people who work in that type of environment would not last here,” said Fairlie.

Having said this, Fairlie explained it would still be a challenging few months for Neves, but that the team he will be working with are great, and that they will soon have him “work fit”.

He explained to Neves: “The hours are long and you will find the first few weeks particularly tiring as there will be so much to take in. It can feel quite overwhelming, but the best approach is to concentrate very much on the area you are working in and try to block out everything else.”

Meanwhile, Roux was so impressed with the students in the final cook-off that he decided to give two two-week apprenticeships to Lynn Frizzell and Andrew Thompson.

Chief executive of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) Uel Morton said: “As an industry we are very fortunate that some of the world’s top chefs – such as Albert Roux and Andrew Fairlie – recognise the quality of the food produced in Scotland, including Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.

“This initiative offers an excellent opportunity for the winning students to work with top-quality ingredients and develop life-long skills through a truly inspirational work experience.”