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‘There are so many amazing chefs these days, but back then it was the Roux family that I really admired. We studied their books at college and they have this incredible legacy, so I was set on working with them somehow. There were times when I wondered why the hell I’d chosen to spend my one day off doing the show when I was working ninety-hour weeks, but it ultimately worked out.’

It certainly did – Steve won the competition outright and certainly achieved his aim of impressing Michel Roux Jr. Rather than jumping ship straight away, he stayed at Launceston Place for another year as they’d supported him during his time on MasterChef. But in 2010, he went to work for Michel Roux Jr as a sous chef at his second restaurant, Roux at Parliament Square. By 2013, he was made head chef, and has continued to push the restaurant forward ever since.

‘I really enjoy working here. I’ve always felt there’s room for growth and we’re always improving, and I get to see lots of young chefs come through the kitchen and then go on to do their own thing, which is great. I’m in a fortunate position, as I have the support and guidance from the Roux family, but I also have freedom in terms of how we operate and the style of food we serve. It makes a big difference.’

One thing that sets Roux at Parliament Square – and Steve’s cooking – apart from the majority of new restaurants is its dedicated to classical technique. In a world of fermenting, preserving, Nordic-style cookery and clean, almost Spartan flavours, Steve’s food is still rooted in the butters, creams and old-school sauces that make French cuisine one of the best in the world. That’s not to say they’re rich, heavy and claggy, however – Steve ensures there’s a lightness to his food which is better suited to modern palates, and it’s what makes Roux at Parliament Square such a deliciously tempting place to have a meal.

‘My style is definitely underpinned by classical French cooking as that was what was taught at college,’ he explains. ‘You can build on it so easily – if you know how to make all the different sauces and their variants, then you can adapt or change them. It’s what forms the cooking here at the restaurant and in the past few years I think we’ve moved even closer to the classical dishes. We use more modern techniques and ingredients of course, but everything can be traced back to classical French cookery.’

Roux at Parliament Square might not enjoy the same media attention as the trendy new restaurants that open their doors every month (although it did reach number forty-five in the National Restaurant Awards 2019), but Steve and his team aren’t chasing accolades and write-ups. They have a dedicated following of diners who know it’s the place to go for food that simply tastes good. ‘We’ve been here for quite a long time now, just doing our thing,’ says Steve. ‘There haven’t been huge changes but we’re always doing the best we can and giving our guests the best experience possible. That’s the only way we can look at things.’