As the regional finalists for the Roux Scholarship 2020 are announced, chairmen Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr are delighted that a new generation of chefs are taking part, having submitted recipes that demonstrate a very high level of talent. In this year’s competition, ten of the 18 regional finalists are first-time applicants and the chefs come from as far south as Jersey and as far north as County Durham.
These 18 chefs were selected from their paper applications and written recipes submitted anonymously to the judges, who took part in the Paper Judging day at The Waterside Inn on Wednesday 4th March. The 18 finalists will compete in two regional finals which will be held simultaneously on Thursday 19th March 2020 at University College Birmingham and University of West London, Ealing.
THE CHEFS COMPETING IN LONDON:
- Benjamin Champkin, Roganic, London
- Caer Timberlake, Restaurant 22, Cambridge
- Ryan Baker, Corinthia, London
- Julian Elkjaer, Whatley Manor, Wiltshire
- Oli Williamson, The Greenhouse, London
- Conor Bird, House of Commons, London
- Christos Sidiropoulos, The Ritz, London
- Stephen McClarty, Restaurant Associates, London
- Tobias Smith, The Leathersellers Company, London
- Olivia Catherine Burt, Claridge’s, London
- Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey
- Oliver Dovey, BaxterStorey Fine Dining, London
Judges: Alain Roux, Brian Turner CBE, André Garrett (2002 scholar), Rachel Humphrey, Clare Smyth MBE.
Ahead of the London regional final Clare Smyth MBE was enthusiastic saying: “I do think we have to try and develop the chefs of the future, and the head chefs of the future, so it’s important that the chefs have taken the costs of their dish into consideration when creating the recipes.”
THE CHEFS COMPETING IN BIRMINGHAM:
- Scott Braithwaite, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
- Jonathan Ferguson, The Raby Hunt Restaurant,
- Oliver Marlow, Roganic, London
- Curtis Tonge, Northcote, Lancashire
- Jac Webster, Angel at Hetton, Yorkshire
- Joshua Fulcher, Restaurant 22, Cambridge
Judges: Michel Roux Jr, Sat Bains (1999 scholar), Angela Hartnett MBE, Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar).
There are two chefs in reserve (should any finalists not be able to compete):
- Connor Wilson, The Traddock, North Yorkshire
- Nathan Cornwell, Moor Hall, Lancashire
In advance of the Birmingham regional final Simon Hulstone, the Roux Scholar 20023 told us: “When I’m judging, I always take the dessert into consideration alongside the dishes as well. You have to ask yourself, are they going to be able to get their dessert out at the same time, or are they filling the whole time with just a main course?”
1999’s winning Roux Scholar, Sat Bains focused on taste saying: “When you’re looking at the recipes, and reading them, you want to be thinking ‘oh I really want to taste that’ because we’re never going to taste all 18. You’ve really got to want to eat it.”
The 2020 challenge
This year’s challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people using one whole fresh MSC-labelled gutted hake, weighing anywhere between 1.6kg – 1.8kg (maximum 2kg) and 600g of live whole grooved carpet shell / palourde clams (ruditapes decussatus); together plated with two ‘simple’ or ‘composed’ garnishes/accompaniments. One of them had to include leeks and the other was a garnish/accompaniment of the applicant’s choice. One of these could be served separately if preferred. A sauce had to accompany the dish.For the regional final, 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 6th April 2020
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 judges for the final cook-off will be: Alain Roux, Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner CBE, Sat Bains, Angela Hartnett and the Honorary President of Judges Bjorn Frantzén of Stockholm’s first three-star Michelin restaurant Frantzén.
The history of the Roux Scholarship
In 1984, Michel Roux OBE founded the Roux Scholarship with his brother Albert to enable a new generation of chefs from Britain to train in the greatest restaurants in the world. Not only has it become the industry’s most acclaimed chef competition in the UK with many scholars having gone on to win Michelin stars themselves, it ranks among the most prestigious competitions for chefs in the world. Since it was established, it has helped British chefs gain the international recognition they deserve. With many young chefs entering the competition each year, it is true to say thousands have been inspired and lives changed by the experience of competing.
We would like to wish all the chefs competing this year every success, and we look forward to reporting on the results from the regional finals, as well as the final itself.