By Angela Green, Content Executive: Final six anounced by the Roux family for the Roux Scholarship 2023.
Following the regional finals taking place in London and Birmingham, the Roux family has announced six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2023 on 3rd April 2023.
- Ben Champkin, The Newt, Somerset
- Christopher Clarke, Core by Clare Smyth, London
- Oliver Dovey, Baxterstorey, London
- Sam Lomas, Glebe House, Devon
- April Lily Partridge, The Ledbury, London
- Alex Rothnie, L’Enclume, Cumbria
With one reserve: Max Davies, Aizle, Edinburgh
The challenge was to cook the recipe they submitted with their application which was blind judged on 22nd February by our judging panel.
At the regional finals at University College Birmingham and the University of West London, the 18 regional finalists cooked their recipes that included: A striploin of dry-aged Heritage beef (without bones), one beef offal (either heart, tongue, or kidney); together plated with two simple or composed garnishes/accompaniments, one of which had to include chicory (Belgian endive) and the other could be a garnish/accompaniment of the contestant’s choice.
A sauce had to accompany the dish. They had two and half a half hours’ cooking time for the dish, alongside a dessert to serve four people made from a “mystery box” of ingredients given on the day. The total cost of the complete dish could not exceed £22.00 per portion.
The 2023 mystery box
This year’s mystery box dessert challenge was different to previous competitions: the finalists were tasked with making a dessert with as many or as few ingredients from the 22 items as they liked.
They were guided towards demonstrating their skills with choux pastry.
- 250g Elle & Vire Professionnel unsalted butter
- 500g plain flour 20g yeast dried
- 250g soft light brown sugar
- 1ltr Elle & Vire Professionnel whipping cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 leaves of “silver” gelatine
- 400g fresh strawberries
- 100g corn flour
- 100g finely ground almonds
- 75g Callebaut praline hazelnut
- 1ltr sunflower oil
- 12 St Ewe Rich Yolk free range eggs
- 20g ground cinnamon
- 150g fondant patissier
- 1ltr whole milk
- 100g almonds flaked
- 330ml lager beer
- 2 lemons
- 150g icing sugar
- 250g caster sugar
- 140g Michel Cluizel dark chocolate tablet 72%
After the judging at the University of West London, Michel Roux Jr reflected by saying: “It’s always very challenging and gut-wrenching for some, but even those who didn’t get through have left with a big smile on their faces and they can be very proud of what they achieved. In terms of the food, there was some fantastic choux pastry in the desserts. I think giving our finalists more ingredients in the mystery box has actually worked, in so far as we’ve had some fantastic desserts here today.”
Also judging in London was Clare Smyth, who said: “It is great to see such a strong group of young chefs back fighting for the scholarship. I loved the new mystery box as it gave more freedom for creativity.”
Judging in at University College Birmingham, Alain Roux said: “It was a really good mystery box and most finalists had a similar idea of serving a filled choux, with good flavours. Some were very simple with the use of chantilly. Personally, I was expecting something a bit more exciting, but we had two outstanding desserts.”
In Birmingham: Alain Roux, James Martin, Sat Bains (Roux Scholar 1999), Simon Hulstone (Roux Scholar 2003).
In London: Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner CBE, Rachel Humphrey, André Garrett (Roux Scholar 2002), Clare Smyth MBE.
National final – Monday 3rd April 2023
The six finalists will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2023 in the final, which takes place at Westminster Kingsway College, London. This time the recipe details will be a complete surprise; 30 minutes before the start of the competition the finalists will be given the ingredients for a main dish, either classic or modern, and given up to three hours to prepare and present it to the judges.
The 2023 Roux Scholar will be announced at a prestigious award dinner at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, the same evening. The exclusive event will be attended by sponsors, judges and the finalists. The winner will receive up to £12,000, a two-month stage at a three-star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world, or the option of a bespoke training programme tailored to their interests and skills gaps.