The final saw seven contestants – one each from the UK, France, Japan, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland ‒ compete for the first prize of €10,000 (£8,603). Finalists were tasted with producing a turbot dish served three ways, and a second dish of Tarte à l’Orange.
Richard was presented with his trophy and prizes at the celebratory dinner at the Palais Garnier in Paris, by three-Michelin-starred chef and president of the judging panel Emmanuel Renault, and president of Champagne Taittinger Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger.
Nicolas Hensinger of La Taverne du Mont d’Arbois in Megève came second, and received €4,800 (£4,128); while Kenji Yoshimoto from the Intercontinental Tokyo Bay hotel in Japan won the third prize of €2,500 (£2,150).
The UK was represented for a second consecutive year by Raj Holuss, first sous chef at Three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray, after he won the UK final of the competition for the second year in a row in September. As a finalist he received a trophy and certificate.
Alongside Roux Jr, the 28 tasting chef judges – who tasted each dish ‘blind’ (not knowing which competitor had cooked which) included top names such as JP Bostoen from L’Auberge de L’Ill; Michel Roth, Président Wilson; J Le Squer, George V; Stéphanie Le Quellec, Prince de Galles – all from France.
There was also Pierre Résimont, l’Eau Vive from Belgium; Stéphane Décotterd, Pont de Brent, Switzerland; H. Horita, Mange Tout, Tokyo; and Ulf Wagner, Sjömagasinet, from Sweden.
The Taittinger contest was set up 50 years ago, and is open to chefs between the ages of 24 and 39 who have over five years’ professional experience. Its main aim is to champion young and upcoming international chefs and showcase Champagne Taittinger’s commitment to their career progression.
Based in Reims in France, the family-owned Champagne house Taittinger produces a wide range of high-end Champagnes including the classic Brut Réserve, the Comtes de Champagne, and the Nocturne Rosé.
It is still overseen by original inheritor, Pierre-Emmanuel, with his daughter Vitalie as marketing director and the face of the brand, and her brother Clovis as export director.
In 2015, the company announced plans to produce sparkling wine in the UK after it invested in land in Kent.