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Young Cliveden chef through to national Roux Scholarship final

The next protege to receive a scholarship from a culinary dynasty could be a young chef from Slough.

Fergus Wilford, 25, of Bath Road, Slough, has made it through to the national final of the Roux Scholarship and is set to compete against five of the best chefs under 30 in the country on Monday, March 26.

The scholarship was set up in 1984 by brothers Albert and Michel Roux, who founded the Waterside Inn in Bray.

First prize is a three-month trial at any three-star Michelin restaurant in the world, as well as a £6,000 grant to aid the winner’s development as a chef.

Fergus said: “I started cooking when I was about nine or 10, I used to bake cookies and cakes with my mum.

“I was overweight as a child so I just loved to eat it all!”

Fergus kept on cooking from then on, and aged 16 he got his first job as a chef.

He now works in the kitchen at Cliveden House under esteemed chef Andre Garrett.

Last year Fergus made it through to the regional finals of the competition but not to the nationals. This time he believes he has the experience to see him through. He said: “Last year was the first cooking competition I’d ever done.

“I’ve done two more since then, so I have a bit more

experience of cooking in that kind of environment.”

On the day of the final, the competitors will receive their brief only 30 minutes before they start cooking. They will then have three hours to cook, receiving marks on presentation and taste.

Regardless of whether he wins the final or not, Fergus dreams of owning his own restaurant one day.

He said: “Henley is lovely, the High Street would be a great place to open a restaurant.

“Winchester is really nice as well, I used to live there, a nice High Street where there’s loads of footfall.”

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