He's come a long way since he baked cakes with his granny in Wales and took a Saturday job at a local butcher, but Daniel Cox never doubted that he would become a chef. Until now, you could be forgiven for not having heard of him. Any chef who rises, as he did, through the ranks of the contract-catering industry (in his case, cooking for top executives at UBS and Merrill Lynch) will struggle to catch the eye of the public. But all that will change in the next few weeks, when the 28-year-old chef opens the doors of his new restaurant in the centre of London. Cox will be head chef at Roux in Parliament Square, located in beautiful Grade II-listed premises with views over the Houses of Parliament, in partnership with the owner Michel Roux. Roux is a loyal supporter of the young chef; Cox made three attempts to win the prestigious Roux Scholarship, before he finally succeeded in 2008.
Winning the scholarship changed everything for Cox. He was the only winner ever to have come from contract catering. "I was already cooking to the equivalent of a one-star Michelin standard," he says, "but winning brought it home to me that I had the calibre to succeed in the mainstream."
Cox describes his new menu as "modern European cooking using French and modern techniques, primarily using British produce". Roux agrees: "Daniel has a limitless knowledge ... which means he is capable of bringing out the best of any ingredient that's put in front of him." Keep an eye out for the imminent opening of Roux – and judge for yourself.