A former catering and hospitality student from North Oxfordshire Catering College has made a return to inspire students ahead of his appearance on BBC Two’s Great British Menu.
Andrew Scott graduated from the college in 2002 and is now executive head chef at Restaurant 56.
Raised in Banbury, Andrew entered and won his first cookery competition at the age of 13. The chef from Whately Hall in Banbury, who was judging the competition, recognised Andrew’s desire to enter the industry so employed him, firstly washing up, but then allowing him to work his way into becoming part of the team, helping out initially on the garnish section.
At 16, he enrolled for his three-year course at the North Oxfordshire Catering College, continuing to work part-time at the hotel.
Carl Brook, one of his tutors from the college said: “Andrew was a rising star during the three years he spent with us. He embraced all aspects of the course, getting his head down and working hard. He has always shown passion, creativity and confidence and has taken the craft of creating classical dishes using traditional techniques, pushing the boundaries to create modern contemporary dishes.”
He trained for several years, working with Simon Haigh at Mallory Court in Warwickshire and Simon Rogan at L’Enclume before he was appointed as head chef at the Michelin-starred The Curlew in East Sussex. He then moved to Restaurant 56. While he was at The Curlew he got his first call to take part in Great British Menu. He passed the auditions for the television show.
In October 2015, Andrew and his team were awarded 3 AA Rosettes and The Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards presented them with the Gastronomic Restaurant of the Year award.
Andrew said: “Being part of BBC Two’s Great British Menu has been a dream of mine since the programme first aired in 2005. When I received the news I had been selected as one of the three chefs to represent the central region, I was euphoric and determined to make colleagues, family and friends proud.”
His menu for the television show was designed to celebrate the Queen’s reign, looking at dishes published in Buckingham Palace cookbooks.
He added: “I also looked at who had been honoured for their contribution through hard work, dedication and going beyond the call of duty. I researched food trends since the Queen’s coronation in 1952, iconic British dishes and how they can be given a contemporary twist. Once I had decided on my final menu, I began to practice my dishes, tweaking them continuously trying to achieve perfection. I had to remember the time restrictions, cooking on unfamiliar equipment and the numbers that would be served in the final banquet. As to how I get on, well you will just have to watch the series when it starts later this year!”
Andrew will be appearing at the Banbury Food Festival at Banbury Town Hall on August 21.