Born into a diverse cultural tapestry in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Luke Selby’s culinary journey began with family foraging expeditions and shared meals prepared with love. Raised amidst the picturesque landscapes of West Sussex, England, Luke’s upbringing instilled in him a deep appreciation for nature’s bounty and the art of cooking.

His foray into the world of gastronomy started at a tender age, as he immersed himself in local restaurants and culinary competitions, showcasing his innate talent and unwavering passion. Despite lacking formal training, Luke’s prowess in the kitchen caught the eye of industry stalwarts, including renowned chef Raymond Blanc, setting the stage for a remarkable career trajectory.

In 2009, Luke joined the prestigious Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, mentored by Raymond Blanc himself. His tenure at this culinary bastion laid the foundation for his ascent, marked by accolades such as the Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence and the coveted Roux Scholarship. With his brothers by his side, Luke’s journey at Le Manoir was a testament to familial bonds and shared culinary aspirations.

Venturing beyond the confines of Oxfordshire, Luke honed his skills in London’s gastronomic landscape, embarking on a transformative stint in Japan, where he immersed himself in a new culinary ethos. His return to London saw him at the helm of acclaimed establishments, earning accolades such as the National Chef of the Year and Michelin stars.

In a poignant homecoming, Luke returned to Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons in 2023, embracing his role as Executive Head Chef alongside mentor Raymond Blanc. This reunion symbolized a full-circle moment, as Luke embarked on a new chapter enriched by his diverse experiences and profound reverence for seasonal British ingredients.

With a renewed focus on the garden-to-plate ethos, Luke brings a fresh perspective to Le Manoir’s culinary narrative, melding his global influences with a deep-rooted connection to nature. As he navigates the lush landscapes of rural Oxfordshire, Luke Selby’s culinary odyssey continues to captivate palates and inspire a new generation of chefs, reaffirming his status as a beacon of gastronomic excellence.

Join us on an exclusive journey through a joint interview with ÖVRFLOD, where we have the opportunity to uncover the mind and experiences of Luke Selby, promising to continue leaving an indelible mark on the culinary world.

What inspires you?

I was born to a Filipino mother and English father, and we grew up foraging and fishing in the South Downs near my childhood home. Because of these experiences growing up, nature and seasonality has always encouraged me to keep that connection to the land when cooking. It’s something that is really important to me.

Why did you start your journey in the kitchen?

I’ve always been fascinated by food and being able to share something with loved ones. I started cooking, mainly for my brothers; to look after them as mum and dad worked really long hours, so I always wanted to make sure there was food on the table. From then, I loved the aspect of cooking food that makes people happy and it was a pleasure to see people enjoying the food I was putting on the table. It was because of that I wanted to start working at restaurants and in the kitchen.

What do you seek in the creation of each dish?

When creating a dish, it’s always got to be seasonality driven, using the best produce you can get and to make sure it has plenty of flavour. Simplicity is also key, you can create something delicious with very little, it’s just about finding the right balance. My mum is from the Philippines would always be growing things and taking me and my brothers foraging and fishing when we were younger. There’s always been a connection to the land that has always inspired me.

What learnings have you gained from Raymond Blanc?

Honestly, so many different things. His passion, drive, and determination is something that is truly admirable. Above all, his kindness, his curiosity and his belief in people is something that I will forever hold with me, you don’t come across that often in life.

In this new phase of your career, what will you bring to Le Manoir?

Right now, we’re looking at refreshing and re-modernising some amazing classical dishes. We’re streamlining kitchen practices so that most of the chefs at Le Manoir have three days off a week. Work / life balance is so important, and we want to show it is possible to run a restaurant of this calibre with a great work / life balance. We’re super proud to say we had a waiting list of over 25 chefs wanting to work here. It’s really special.

What goals do you have for the future?

I want to continue to evolve and modernise Le Manoir, and I’m completely focused on my journey here. We’ve made lots of amazing changes in the kitchen over the past year and I want to push forward and build Le Manoir to be the best it can be.

Photos: courtesy.

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