The Roux family has launched the 2017 Roux Scholarship competition, offering the winner £6,000 and an all-expenses-paid, three-month stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant anywhere in the world.
This year entrants, who must be in full-time employment as a chef in the UK and be aged 22 years or above but no older than 30 on 1 February 2017, will be asked to submit a recipe combining fresh whole rainbow trout and live mussels.
They will have until midnight on Tuesday 31 January 2017 to submit their recipe to serve four people, which can use a trout weighing anywhere between 1.5kg and 1.75kg (maximum 2kg) and 800g live mussels, served plated and accompanied by two garnishes.
One garnish must include jasmine rice and the other is a garnish of the chefs' choice. One can be served separately and a sauce must accompany the dish.
Judging of the competition will be led by cousins Alain Roux, chef patron of the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire, and Michel Roux Jr, chef patron of Le Gavroche in London.
Commenting on the choice of recipe this year, Alain said: "I have chosen rainbow trout since it is a lovely, popular freshwater fish but often underrated and rarely seen on restaurant menus, particularly during the six months of the year when it is in season. It should be promoted more and its slightly nutty, sweet flavours and oil rich skin enjoyed more widely."
Michel Roux Jr added: "I want to see two British and sustainable ingredients that will need a delicate touch, precision and flair. I am also excited to see what the chefs are going to do with the fragrant rice."
Laky Zervudachi, director of sustainability at fish supplier Direct Seafoods, which is a sponsor of the competition, said: "Locally grown UK trout has been sadly neglected and its choice for the competition fits perfectly with today's championing of UK produced food. Grown in crystal clear chalk stream waters it is sustainable, tasty and healthy - a great choice for chefs to demonstrate their skills."
Other judges joining Alain and Michel Roux Jr to officiate in this year's Roux Scholarship include: James Martin, David Nicholls, Brian Turner, the first scholar Andrew Fairlie, as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar), Sat Bains (1999 scholar) and André Garrett (2002 scholar). A premier international guest chef will join the panel to judge the final; the name will be announced soon.
The judges will select the best 18 recipes from those submitted. These chefs will be invited to cook their dish and a ‘mystery box' dessert challenge at regional finals to be held in Birmingham and London on Thursday 23 March 2017.
The final will be held in London on Monday 10 April 2017 and the winner will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony at The Langham, London, that same evening.
Meanwhile, the Langham London, Oritain, Qatar Airways, and TRUEfoods, have all been revealed as new sponsors of the Roux Scholarship 2017.
They join a number of others, including: Aubrey Allen, Bridor, Cactus TV, The Caterer, Direct Seafoods, Global Knives, Hildon Natural Mineral Water, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, L'Unico Caffe Musetti, Mash Purveyors Ltd, Restaurant Associates, and Udale Speciality Foods.
Last year's winner of the Roux Scholarship was Harry Guy who chose to do a stage at the three-Michelin-starred Saison in San Francisco under celebrated chef Joshua Skenes.
Eleven previous winners of the competition, including Andrew Fairlie, will join Michel Roux Sr and his son Alain as well as fellow judge Brian Turner for the Roux scholars' educational trip to California later this week, during which they will visit Guy in San Francisco.
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