The Roux Scholarship announces its 18 regional finalists for the 2019 competition

Roux Scholarship finalist 2019 4

As the regional finalists for the Roux Scholarship 2019 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, 14 of the 18 regional finalists are first-time applicants. The line-up also sees the first female regional finalist since 2015.

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 27th February. The 18 finalists will compete in two regional finals which will be held simultaneously on Thursday 14th March 2019 at University College Birmingham and University of West London, Ealing.

THE CHEFS COMPETING IN BIRMINGHAM: THE CHEFS COMPETING IN LONDON:
Scott Braithwaite, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria

Scott Dineen, BaxterStorey Fine Dining, London

Adam Harper, The Cavendish Hotel at Baslow, Derbyshire

Spencer Metzger, The Ritz, London

Curtis Tonge, The Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire

Ricki Weston, Whatley Manor, Gloucestershire

 

 

Ryan Baker, The Ritz, London

Jordan Bayes, Tuddenham Mill, Newmarket, Suffolk

Bence Burai, Texture Restaurant, London

Olivia Catherine Burt, Claridge’s, London

Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey

Oliver Dovey, BaxterStorey Fine Dining, London

Patrick Frischknecht, The Clove Club, London

Ben Hobson, Galvin at Windows, London

Lewis Linley, Vacherin, London

Yiannis Mexis, Hide, London

Samuel Nash, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria

Luke Sutton, The Woodspeen, Newbury, Berkshire

 

Judges: Alain Roux, Brian Turner CBE, Angela Hartnett MBE, Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar).

 

Judges: Michel Roux Jr, Rachel Humphrey,
James Martin, Sat Bains (1999 scholar),
André Garrett (2002 scholar).

 

There are two chefs in reserve (should any finalists not be able to compete):

Tim Kendall, Idle Rocks Hotel, Cornwall

Andrew Sleath, Restaurant 22, Cambridgeshire

The challenge

This year’s challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people using one short saddle of hogget, weighing between 1.8kg and 2.2kg (bone-in, breast removed, without kidneys) and using four hogget kidneys (whole, suet removed); together served plated with two ‘simple’ or ‘composed’ garnishes/accompaniments. One of them must include potato rösti and the other to be a garnish/accompaniment of your choice. One of these can be served separately if preferred.  A sauce must 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.

Key facts:

  • 2019 is a very strong yRoux Scholarship finalist 2019 1ear for first-time applications, with 14 of the 18 regional finalists having not competed in the competition before. Three chefs have previously qualified for the final: Sam Nash (L’Enclume) in 2018, and Scott Dineen in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017; and Michael Cruickshank (Bohemia, Jersey) made it to the final in 2017, and the regional final in 2016 and 2018.  While Ricki Weston (now Whatley Manor, previously Restaurant Sat Bains) competed in last year’s regional final.
  • Olivia Catherine Burt, from Claridge’s, is the first female to qualify for the regional finals since Sabrina Gidda in 2014 and 2015, who also went on to the final.
  • The regional finalists from a wide geographic spread across the UK. Eight of the 18 finalists are from restaurants outside London.
  • Three establishments each have two regional finalists in the shortlist: The Ritz and L’Enclume, proving once again what great mentors these chefs have in John Williams and Simon Rogan. BaxterStorey also has two finalists, showing that it is also a great supporter of chefs entering the competition.
  • Chef Ioannis Mexis comes from Ollie Dabbous’ restaurant Hide – where the two most recent winners Luke Selby and Martin Carabott both work.
  • The paper applications are judged blind, so judges don’t know their identity or their place of work.
  • The judges felt that many written recipes were adventurous, while others were more classic in style. Most had brought their own experience and personality into the recipes.

QUOTES FROM THE JUDGES

Michel Roux Jr: “The standard goes up every year and we see different ways of cooking, from the classics to the more modern cooking – I can’t wait to taste them. Hogget has a very pronounced, lamby flavour and is a wonderful meat to use.”

Alain Roux: “The level seems to be very high this year. It’s good to see so many first time applicants, which shows that – even after all the years the competition has been running – it is still regarded by the younger generation of chefs as something with high value. Getting to the regional final in a competition of this level is already a very high achievement and they can take a lot of out of it. Even if they don’t go through to the final, they’ve worked hard and improved as a chef.”

Roux Scholarship finalist 2019 2Clare Smyth MBE: “I really love hogget, it’s a really under-utilised meat and there are some really delicious-sounding dishes this year. It’s also nice to see a female chef among the finalists; once the identities were revealed, I realised she had one of my highest scores so I was excited about that. There are some great name houses in there – it’s going to be a really exciting competition, a tough one.”

Brian Turner CBE: The recipes across the board were marginally better than they are year on year, so I’m really looking forward to seeing them cook. A nice thing about the first-timers, is that all come from houses and people who understand the value of competitions such as the Roux Scholarship. It’s important the chefs understand the classics and the value of the classics,  and that they understand how things are balanced and it’s not all bells and whistles. A lot of houses know that this is the competition to be associated with.”

National final – Monday 1st April 2019

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, Clare Smyth MBE, James Martin and the Honorary President of Judges Peter Gilmore, who is coming from Sydney, Australia, to take part. The 36th Roux Scholar will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, that same evening.

About 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 more than three decades ago, 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.

Our sponsors

The Roux Scholarship is sponsored by Aubrey Allen, Bridor, Cactus TV, The Caterer, Direct Seafoods, Global Knives, Hildon Natural Mineral Water, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, L’Unico Caffe Musetti, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Mash Purveyors Ltd, Oritain, Qatar Airways, Restaurant Associates, TRUEfoods, and Udale Speciality Foods Ltd. For more details about our sponsors visit www.rouxscholarship.co.uk

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