Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and raised by his Filipino mother, Theo Selby has a range of culinary influences to draw from. Theo first joined Le Manoir in 2012 through an apprenticeship scheme. Clearly impressing Head Chef Gary Jones, Theo has worked his way up to his current position of Commis Chef and is a former winner of the Academy of Culinary Arts’ Annual Award of Excellence.
What's your first food memory?
The main food that stands out from my childhood is eating Filipino cuisine from a young age, mainly consisting of dried fish, soy sauce and rice. This is due to having a Filipino mother bringing up four young boys while my father worked.
Describe the first kitchen you worked in?
The first kitchen I worked in was The Chardonnay Restaurant in West Sussex. It is a small family-run restaurant serving classic French and international cuisine. This is where I picked up a great base of food knowledge; the kitchen only consisted of four chefs.
What were you expecting before you walked into the kitchens at Le Manoir?
I was expecting a huge jump and challenge from being a young apprentice coming from nowhere with little experience to working in one of the best kitchens in the country.
What attracted you to working at Le Manoir? How did Raymond Blanc factor into this?
Raymond’s ethos of food, the freshness and amazing quality of produce and the training I receive everyday.
What are five things at Le Manoir that inspire you?
Role models – Michelin chefs who have been through Le Manoir, Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones.
Consistency and standards
Fresh produce from the gardens
Teamwork across the board
What makes a perfect dish?
Clean flavours, well balanced, freshness and quality of produce.
What do you think it is that makes Le Manoir a breeding ground for Michelin-starred chefs?
The training, the standards and responsibilities that makes chefs consistent.
What are your three favourite Michelin-starred restaurants?
Royal Hospital Road, Clare Smyth
The Hand and Flowers, Tom Kerridge
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons!
In your opinion, is success in the restaurant industry defined by Michelin stars? What other factors are involved?
I believe success in this industry is not just defined by stars. There are many places that are underrated in the industry. Michelin only visit these current places a few times a year, the industry is always growing.
What are three cookbooks currently on your shelf?
Best Ever Dishes by Tom Kerridge
Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc
Recipes from a 3 star chef by Gordon Ramsay
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Working in my own restaurant with my brothers, former Manoir Sous Chef Luke Selby (currently at Royal Hospital Road) and Nathaniel Selby currently at Le Manoir, working towards our own three Michelin stars.