Luke Selby Crowned Roux Scholar 2017

Luke Selby, head chef at Dabbous, London has won the 2017 Roux Scholarship. Luke beat five other finalists in a fiercely contested final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on Monday 10th April, where they were asked to prepare and serve Royal-style saddle of hare, chestnut flavoured tagliatelli and purple sprouting broccoli.

The 26-year-old chef, who entered the competition for the first time this year, was battling it out against Martin Carabott, from Luca Restaurant, London, Michael Cruickshank from Bohemia, Jersey, Scott Dineen, of BaxterStorey, London, Oliver Downey from Fera at Claridge’s, London and Matthew Whitfield from The Driftwood Hotel, Portscatho in Cornwall.

170410 RouxFinals AwardCeremony 080

Pictured above is Alain Roux and Luke Selby with Sponsors - Direct Seafoods - Sustainability Director, Laky Zervudachi, and Michel Roux Jr (Photo courtesy of Jodi Hinds)


Skrei season is here!

Skrei (pronounced ‘skray’) is a special kind of migratory Norwegian cod. Skrei means ‘wanderer’, referring to the 1000km journey these cod make each year to spawn around the islands of Lofoten and Vesterålen. This epic swim through the rough Barents Sea is what gives Skrei such amazingly succulent, flavoursome white flesh. Skrei is strictly seasonal and the catch is tightly monitored.

Direct Seafoods and Friends Return to the Universal Cookery and Food Festival!


Direct Seafoods, suppliers of fresh fish and seafood to caterers throughout the UK and Ireland; will be exhibiting at the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Universal Cookery and Food Festival, UCFF, on Tuesday 20th September 2016.  Direct Seafoods will be supported by other specialist fresh food businesses from the Bidvest Fresh group, including Oliver Kay Produce, Hensons and Campbell Brothers. 
Oliver Kay Produce’s Development Chef Laurence Tottingham, will be on-stand showcasing a wide range of fresh and seasonal produce along with fresh fish, meat and dairy from the various companies, via a series of food tastings and live skills demonstrations. Laurence’s experience includes a tenure with Heston Blumenthal at the iconic Fat Duck and Hinds Head restaurants, before going on to set up the award winning ‘Aumbry’ restaurant with renowned chef Mary Ellen Mctague. 
Laurence comments; “UCFF offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase seasonality and provenance of the extensive variety of fresh products available from our businesses.  We look forward to sharing some fantastic food throughout the day with such a respected group of industry peers.”
UCFF, which this year takes up residence at Laverstoke Park Farm - Hampshire, is dubbed the ‘Glastonbury for Chefs’ and delivers provenance, sustainability, trends, seasonality and development education for attending chefs and caterers from across the UK. 
For information about the fresh companies within Bidvest Fresh visit and for information about the Universal Cookery and Food Festival visit
For press enquiries please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Why Salmon Prices are Soaring in 2016


As a consumer product, very few types of seafood are able to compete on the same levels of supply and international demand as farmed Atlantic salmon. The increasing global appetite for this fish has seen exports grow rapidly in the last two decades, reaching a record 2.3 million tonnes with a value in excess of €13 billion last year.

Collectively, the salmon farming industry’s output has grown 7-8% annually since 1997. However, this year’s total is expected to decline to around 2.2 million tonnes with many stakeholders not expecting any increase for at least another two years.

There are a number of reasons for this supply decrease, but the biggest impacts have come from naturally occurring biological challenges in key farming areas – predominantly sea lice infestations in Norway and algal blooms in Chile. Historically, these two countries account for around two-thirds of the world’s salmon production, but both are forecast to see their respective outputs fall by 100,000 tonnes in 2016.

While there is some good news in the market in terms of salmon supply, such as higher output from Scotland this year, these contributions do very little to offset the overall decline. Therefore, combining the reduced availability with the unprecedented demand for salmon, a perfect storm has emerged whereby at numerous stages this year salmon prices have been 30-40% more than they were in the corresponding period of 2015.

Unfortunately, the high prices and declining availability of farmed salmon have left many buyers and processors in key markets struggling to fill orders in recent months.With sea lice, algal blooms and other biological challenges remaining unwanted forces to be reckoned with, not to mention fast-growing demand from existing and new regions, the market should be prepared to pay more for salmon in the future. We will all simply have to wait to see by how much and for how long.

Some comfort should be taken from the salmon industry’s determination to quickly get production back on a growth trend. As the aquaculture sector’s technological frontrunner, it is actively seeking, through heavy investment, new production areas, alternative feed sources, new technologies etc. that can help solve its biological challenges cost-effectively and bring greater stability to the market.

For information and assistance on alternative species choices to salmon, contact your local Direct Seafoods depot where our team will be able to assist you with sustainable and seasonal fish options.  

Craft Guild announces NCOTY semi-finalists and a surge in interest levels for 2016

Today, the world is one step closer to finding out who will be the next National Chef of the Year (NCOTY), (which Direct Seafoods are proud to sponsor) with the announcement of the competition’s semi-finalists. The Craft Guild of Chefs has also revealed that this year saw the highest recorded level of interest in the competition ever, with 159 entries on the new National Chef of the Year website and over 400 chefs registered to view the brief.

To celebrate the impressive number of chefs who entered and registered, the Craft Guild has released some key figures from the competition so far:

National Chef of the Year in Numbers:

  • 159 entry forms received from hopeful chefs
  • Back in 1972, in the competition’s first year just 19 chefs entered, highlighting the dramatic rise of what is now regarded as the UK’s most prestigious culinary title
  • 11 expert judges deliberated for over 20 hours each, that’s 220 hours in total, to whittle the entries down to the 40 semi-finalists
  • The semi-finals will last for a total of 360 minutes, at the end of which just 10 chefs will be announced as finalists
  • With the toughest skills test yet, the judges’ focus will be on three key elements, a perfect risotto, an innovative chicken dish and a stunning choux pastry dessert
  • Chefs from over 500 different establishments have entered NCOTY since it began in 1972.

David Mulcahy, Vice-President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the National Chef of the Year competition, commented on the competition so far:

“As the leading culinary challenge in the UK today and recognised across the industry, the National Chef of the Year is as strong today as it was in 1972 when it was first introduced. Following the paper entry stage all judges agreed that the standard this year has improved on recent years, and I have no doubt that we are in for a tough competition. The focus on a very clear set of skills at the semi-final stage will determine who deserves to go through to the final stages where they will be able to show their own personal innovation and skills with what will be the best mystery basket yet. The National Chef of the Year continues to grow and develop and to reflect today’s fast paced and exciting industry.”

The 40 semi-finalist chefs who made the grade come from around the UK, from a variety of establishments and backgrounds. These include contract caterers, pubs and even food suppliers and colleges, as well as some of the country’s best hotels and restaurants:



Restaurant 23



Tudor Farmhouse Hotel



Trump International



Deanes Eipic



House of Tides



Hipping Hall

Dion Wyn


Lion and pheasant townhouse hotel



Forth Valley College






The Waggon Inn



The Grand Hotel and Spa



The Royal Automobile Club



Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa



Restaurant Associates






Cliveden house






Restaurant Gordon Ramsay



Lough Erne Resort



Petrus Restaurant, Gordon Ramsay



compasses inn



Haywards Restaurant



Great British Chefs



Adam Handling Restaurant Group



Nomura - Restaurant Associates



Restaurant Associates



The Old Government House Hotel and Spa


Mc Creary

The Ritz



The Truscott arms



Levy Restaurants @Excel london



10 Feet Tall



Lusso - CH&Co



The Woodford



Restaurant Associates



Grain Store Cafe and Bar



Anglesea Arms



The Thomas Cubitt






Fishmore Hall Hotel


Retnakumar Geetha

Hilton Hotels UK

Chairman of Judges, Clare Smyth MBE, commented on this year’s competitors:

 “What’s fantastic about this competition is not only does the number of entrants grow each year but the quality of the entries continues to rise. Having discussed the entries and menus at length with my fellow judges I know it is going to be a very tough, close and exciting semi-final. On a personal note, I’m delighted to see five female chefs make the top 40 which is the highest we’ve ever had and is something as a committee we’ve really encouraged for the last few years. I hope the chefs will grab this opportunity with both hands and ensure they are ready for it!"

Following the semi-finals, the ten highest scoring chefs will then face the ultimate challenge in the NCOTY final on the 4th October at the Restaurant Show. 

Harry Guy is the Roux Scholar 2016


Harry Guy, support and development chef for the Eden Hotel Collection in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, has won the 2016 Roux Scholarship. Guy beat five other finalists in a highly contested final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on Monday 4th April, where they were asked to prepare and serve Norfolk black chicken cooked en croûte, cardoon gratin and tarragon sauce.

The 26-year-old chef, who made it through to the regional finals last year, was battling it out against Martin Carabott of the Royal Automobile Club, London, Ben Champkin from L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria, Scott Dineen of Goldman Sachs (BaxterStorey), London, Paul Matthews from Fieldfisher (Vacherin), London, and Tim Peirson of Kensington Place, Kensington, London.

Commenting on the 33rd national final, Michel Roux Jr said: “At first sight it could seem like this was a straightforward and simple dish. However there were a lot of potential banana skins and Harry’s dish showed exceptional all round skills."

Alain Roux added: “Although it may sound simple we chose this dish because it’s technically challenging due to all the component parts. We were looking for suet dough with the perfect bite, chicken with maximum flavour, two well made sauces and correctly prepared soft cardoons. Once assembled the test was to cook the dish properly, without it becoming dry. It’s a pie – nothing more and a chef cooking in the UK should know how to cook a pie!”

Pierre Gagnare: “The winner was obviously stressed but in a positive way and he channelled this into his cooking. He had the intelligence to perfectly combine and balance all the elements of his dish. His semi-final dishes also stood out so this made it three out of three for Harry. He will make an excellent Roux Scholar.”

Harry Guy said: “I was apprehensive at the start but figured it out ok. I was hoping for meat so that was good and I was happy with what I produced. It means everything to win! To be in close contact with the Roux family is invaluable and will really push my career forward as it establishes you in the industry.”

The six chefs, all under 30 years old had three hours to cook the Escoffier inspired recipe in front of the judges. Pierre Gagnaire, the legendary three star Michelin chef led the judging in a new role as Honorary President of the Judges 2016. First time chairmen of the judges Alain and Michel Jr, were also joined by James Martin, Brian Turner, the first scholar Andrew Fairlie as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar) and André Garrett (2002 scholar).

The winner was announced at a glittering awards ceremony at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, in front of an audience of prestigious guests, top chefs and leading figures from the world of hospitality. For the first time in the history of the competition the awards ceremony was live streamed via the Roux Scholarship website.

The Eden Hotel Collection chef, who previously worked at L’Enclume, receives £6,000, and an invitation to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a prestigious three star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world for up to three months.

It is estimated that more than 12,000 companies exceed the GBP 36 million turnover threshold.

Seafood Holdings Limited (trading as Direct Seafoods)
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Unit 10-14, Cedar Way Industrial Estate, Camley Street,
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Phone: 01206 584 790

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        NCOTY Main


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