Alain and Michel Roux Jr have revealed the regional finalists for the 2017 Roux Scholarship competition.
The regional finals will be held simultaneously on Thursday 23rd March 2017
They will take place at University College Birmingham and University of West London, Ealing.
The chefs competing in Birmingham:
- Jack Brough, Fera at Claridge’s, Mayfair, London
- Scott Dineen, BaxterStorey, (Black Rock), London
- Dylan Owens, Fine Dining Company, Tattenhall, Cheshire
- Ashley Randall, The George Hotel, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
- Peter Turnpenny, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Windermere, Cumbria
- Matthew Whitfield, The Driftwood Hotel, Portscatho, Cornwall
Judges: Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner, Sat Bains (1999 scholar), André Garrett (2002 scholar).
The chefs competing in London:
- Martin Carabott, Luca Restaurant, Clarkenwell, London
- James Coe, Harbour & Jones (Ashurst), London
- Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey
- Oliver Downey, Fera at Claridge’s, Mayfair, London
- Joseph Fallowfield, Kota, Porthleven, Cornwall
- Daniel Lines, Restaurant Associates (Credit Suisse), London
- Paul Matthews, Vacherin, (Fieldfisher), London
- Alexander Robinson, Restaurant Associates (Credit Suisse), London
- David Scarpato, Gemelli, Newport, South Wales
- Luke Selby, Dabbous, London
- George Tomlin, The Clove Club, London
- Fergus Wilford, Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire
Judges: Alain Roux, Andrew Fairlie, James Martin, David Nicholls, Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar).
2017 was a strong year for entries with applicants from a wide geographic spread of interesting establishments across the UK. Eight of the 18 finalists are from restaurants outside London. A number of the chefs have passed through the kitchens of a previous winner, which demonstrates the impact of the Roux legacy.
Facts about the finalists:
- Martin Carabott, Scott Dineen and Paul Matthews all competed in last year’s final. Michael Cruickshank and David Scarpato were regional finalists in 2016.
- Thirteen chefs are new to the competition.
- Five competitors are from contract catering companies.
- Simon Rogan continues his strong association with the competition; two finalists, Jack Brough and Oliver Downey, work for Dan Cox (2008 scholar) at Fera at Claridge’s.
- Fergus Wilford is in André Garret’s brigade at Cliveden and Peter Turnpenny works for Hrishikesh Desai (2009 scholar) at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House.
This year’s challenge is to create a recipe to serve four people using one whole fresh rainbow trout weighing anywhere between 1.5 – 1.75kg (maximum 2kg) and 800g live mussels, together served plated and accompanied by two garnishes. One garnish must include jasmine rice and the other to be a garnish of choice. One of these garnishes can be served separately if preferred. A sauce must accompany the dish.
Competitors will have 2½ hrs to cook their dish, along with a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients given to them on the day. The judges will be looking for recipes and methods, which demonstrate the best balance of creativity, taste, style and practicality in the finished dish.
National final – Monday 10th April 2017
Six winners selected from across the two regional finals will go through to the national final, which takes place at Westminster Kingsway College, London. The 2017 Roux Scholar will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony at The Langham, London, that same evening.
Quotes from the judges
Michel Roux Jr, “These ingredients were an inspired choice, they’ve really made the chefs think. In particular, there are some very imaginative interpretations of jasmine rice which I’m looking forward to tasting.”
Alain Roux, “The involvement of more scholars on the judging panel brings a refreshing new dimension and means we have a wide range of experience, cooking styles and perspectives that creates a lot of lively debate! Some chefs have kept their dishes relatively simple, some are more elaborate, it’s easy to tell who has tested, tasted and refined their recipes until they work.”
Andrew Fairlie, “Overall there was a high standard of entries. What surprises me is that some chefs continue to underestimate the importance of their written entry. They need to consider that we judge this blind and only have what’s written down to go on. Once the names were revealed it was clear that a number of great chefs are slipping through the net because of a lack of attention to detail in the presentation and description of their dishes.“
James Martin, “Several recipes shone out today with great explanations and images. Let’s hope they taste as good!” Sat Bains, “My first paper judging was an eye-opener of how stringently the rules are applied, it’s all judged blind so we don’t know who the entrants are. It’s exciting to see who the winner will be from these great candidates!”
André Garrett, “I’m impressed! The chefs who got through have all thought creatively about using these ingredients. Rainbow trout is an underused fish, not often seen on menus and there are some exciting ways of using jasmine rice.”
Simon Hulstone, “It’s great to see a mix of modern, as well as classical, cooking techniques in the competition this year. I hope the chefs have remembered they need time to make the mystery dessert too!”
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