Following the completion of the regional finals in London and Birmingham, the Roux family has announced the names of the six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2019 on 1 April.
The final six contenders are:
Ryan Baker, The Ritz, London
Olivia Catherine Burt, Claridge’s, London
Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey
Adam Harper, The Cavendish Hotel at Baslow, Derbyshire
Lewis Linley, Vacherin, London
Spencer Metzger, The Ritz, London
One reserve - who will compete if a chef has to drop out: Samuel Nash, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria.
The six finalists will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2019 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 recipe and ingredients for a main dish, either classic or modern and given three hours to prepare and present it to the judges.
Judging in London at University of West London, Michel Roux Jr said, “Amazing standard. Every year it just gets better and better and the correctness of the cooking and the seasoning was beyond reproach.” Many of the judges were impressed by how evident it was that the chefs had practised their dishes over and over. James Martin said: “They’d all practised, practised, practised, and you can tell. Those who’ve practised have really nailed it.”
Two of the finalists come from The Ritz, Spencer Metzger, who competed in Birmingham, and Ryan Baker, who competed in London, both of whom entered for the first time this year. Baker said, “I’m ecstatic that I got through. I’m really excited about taking the next step. I practised on all my days off, over the last couple of months – practised, practised, practised, and it really paid off.”
Meanwhile, Olivia Catherine Burt from Claridge’s also entered for the first time this year. “I’m super-excited. It’s a really big achievement. I practised from the moment I heard I’d got through. It’s always quite difficult work and practising. I’ve had lots of support from my head chef Martyn [Nail] and also Matt [Starling] from when I worked at Fera.”
Meanwhile in Birmingham, some of the chefs struggled to cook their dishes and the mystery box dessert within the time given. Judge Angela Hartnett said, “My advice would be to future entrants: when thinking about the paper entry, save time for the dessert.”
Chairman Alain Roux said, “There was a level of complexity in a lot of the dishes, which cannot be easy to execute at that level. The result was that the desserts were not so well-executed and they should have properly cooked and poached the fruit.”