The Michel Roux Jr Cookery School’s winning streak continued yesterday when its bowl of “Autumn Smackdown Porridge” created by cookery school tutor, Roux Executive Chef Toby Stuart was declared runner-up in this year’s hotly contested Rude Health Porridge Championships.

Judges, Rude Health founder, Nick Bernard, and Signe Johansen, a past champion and author of How to Hygge, were fulsome in their praise. They singled out Toby’s oat, spelt and barley porridge served with toffee apple puree, malted granola clusters, caramelised parsnip crisps and a generous dollop of Calvados infused crème Fraiche, for its perfect balance of flavours and textures and that the dish lent itself to being enjoyed hot or cold. Toby described his superlative porridge as more akin to a dessert.

His inventive and healthily indulgent bowl of oats nudged NOPI’s moreish miso butterscotch porridge into third place, and narrowly missed out on the top spot to London wild food restaurant Native’s bold meadowsweet porridge with Kentish wood ants.

Students at the Michel Roux Jr Cookery School are more likely to be found mastering a soufflé than wielding a spurtle. But given the opportunity to compete in the Rude Health Porridge Championships, the school jumped at the chance to go head-to-head with 15 of the region’s most innovative breakfast makers in front on an audience of discriminating oat fans. For school director, Anna Ratcliffe, this was “the perfect opportunity to show off the creativity and versatility of our chefs.” She added, “While we teach our students culinary skills based on classic French techniques, this is just the starting point. Everything we do is about giving people the confidence to cook and share good food in any guise.”

Traditionalists who take their oatmeal with no more than a sprinkle of salt may disagree but where others see bland, warm comfort food, Barnard sees sophistication and excitement. He encourages contestants to use oats as a blank canvas, to experiment and take risks. Despite being in the cereal game himself, Barnard and his wife and business partner, Camilla never cease to be amazed at how the once humble dish of porridge is endlessly and creatively reinvented at the annual championships. “This year’s competition has set the bar to new heights” he enthused, “and pushed the boundaries and possibilities of porridge still further.”

To see the winning porridge recipe visit our website

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Cactus Kitchens, home of the Michel Roux Jr Cookery School. Offering an array of unique cooking classes in London including the Saturday Kitchen Experience.