Roux Scholarship: Finalsists Announced (March 2019)

After the exciting regional finals in London and
Birmingham, the Roux family is delighted to announce the names of the six chefs
who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2019 on 1st April 2019.

They 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  

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. Ryan 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.”

Facts
about the finalists:

  • Michael Cruickshank was in the national final in 2017, and the
    regional final in 2016 and 2018.
  • Two of the finalists, Ryan Baker and Spencer Metzger work for The
    Ritz, in Chef John Williams’ Brigade.
  • Olivia Catherine Burt is the first female finalist since Sabrina
    Gidda in 2014 and 2015.
  • Five out of the six finalists have got through on their first
    time of entering the competition: Ryan Baker, Olivia Catherine Burt, Adam
    Harper, Spencer Metzger and Lewis Linley.

The finalists were chosen following two regional
finals, which took place on Thursday 14th March 2019at the University
of West London, Ealing,
and University College Birmingham.

Judges

In Birmingham (above): Alain Roux, Brian Turner, Simon Hulstone (scholar 2003), Angela Hartnett.

In London (above): Michel Roux Jr, Sat Bains (scholar 1999), Rachel Humphrey, James Martin and André Garrett (Roux Scholar 2002).

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 had to be a potato rösti and the other to
be a garnish/accompaniment of their choice. A sauce had to accompany the dish. Competitors had 2½ hrs to cook their dish, along with a dessert from a
mystery box of ingredients given to them on the day. 

The 2019
mystery box

The brief was to prepare a dessert for four people
using the ingredients supplied.
One ingredient could be omitted but at least 50% of the following ingredients
had to be used:

200ml double cream
4 medium eggs
100g plain flour
100g golden syrup
150g unsalted butter
 
80g fresh ginger root  
4 oranges
4 medium-sized Cox apples
500ml Thatchers Katy cider

Quotes from the chairmen:

Michel
Roux Jr:
“Amazing
standard. Every year it just gets better and better and the correctness of the
cooking and the seasoning was beyond reproach.”

Alain Roux: “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. All of the chefs showed an impressive level of skill. We would expect
more simplicity next year. They need to improve their palate and need to taste
their food.”

Comments
from Birmingham judges:

Simon Hulstone: “You’ve got to factor in that if
you’re not cooking in your own kitchen you should add half an hour to your preparation
and cooking time. It meant that some struggled in the time given.”

Angela Hartnett: “One of the guys who went through had
produced one of the best sauces I has even tasted in this competition. My
advice would be to future entrants: when thinking about the paper entry, save
time for the dessert.”

Comments
from London judges said:

Sat
Bains:
“It’s a
really good year – I’m impressed. It’s always difficult under pressure. It’s a
really strong year and I enjoyed tasting all the food.”

James
Martin:
“They’d
all practised, practised, practised, and you can tell. Those who’ve practised
have really nailed it.”

National final – Monday 1st April 2019

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.

Acclaimed
Australian chef Peter Gilmore will join the panel of judges
as
Honorary President, alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Jr.
They will be joined by Brian Turner, James Martin, Clare Smyth as well as previous winners Sat
Bains (1999 scholar) and André Garrett (2002
scholar).

Award
Ceremony

The 2019 Roux Scholar will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony at the Mandarin
Oriental Hyde Park, London, that same evening. The winner will receive £6000, a three-month
stage at a three-star Michelin restaurant anywhere in the world, and a number
of superb prizes from our sponsors.

Our sponsors

The Roux Scholarship is sponsored by a number of companies
including: Aubrey Allen, Bridor, Cactus TV, The
Caterer, Direct Seafoods, Global Knives, Hildon Natural Mineral Water, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, L’Unico Caffe Musetti,
Mandarian Oriental Hyde Park, Mash Purveyors Ltd, Oritain, Qatar Airways, Restaurant
Associates, TRUEfoods, and Udale Speciality Foods Ltd.

More details about all 18 chefs who competed and all of our sponsors are
available on our website www.rouxscholarship.co.uk

Quotes from the finalists –
coming later today [15th March].

Regional
Prizes

Each competitor received the following gifts from
our sponsors, as well as a commemorative certificate signed by all the judges:

  • A Kazoku set of three Global Knives.
  • A cafetière pot with coffee, courtesy of L’Unico Caffé Musetti.
  • A TRUEfoods notebook
    and tasting spoon.
  • A fruit hamper from Mash
    Purveyors
    .

Details of the National prize can be found here: www.rouxscholarship.co.uk/prizes/

from Fine Dining Guide