Roux Scholarship 2020 regional finalists announced

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 4 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 are as follows:
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

The judges are: Alain Roux, Brian Turner CBE, André Garrett (2002 scholar), Rachel Humphrey, Clare Smyth MBE.

Ahead of the London regional final, Clare Smyth MBE said, “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,
Durham
Oliver Marlow, Roganic, London
Curtis Tonge, Northcote, Lancashire
Jac Webster, Angel at Hetton, Yorkshire
Joshua Fulcher, Restaurant 22, Cambridge

The judges are: 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 said. “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?”
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1999’s winning Roux Scholar, Sat Bains focused on taste and said, “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.”

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.

Six winners selected from across the two regional finals will go through to the national final, which takes place at Westminster Kingsway College, London on 6 April 2020. 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.