The line-up for the regional finals for this year's Roux Scholarship was announced today.
There will be a total of 19 young chefs competing for a place in the finals, four of whom have been national finalists before.
There was a rise in more than 50% in the number of entries this year, which marks the 25th anniversary of the competition.
"The quality of entries was better than usual, and we were delighted with the level of response." said Michel Roux, co-chairman of the judging panel.
The finalists are:
- Stephen Stevens, Mill House Hotel, Oxford
- Matthew Wilkinson, Martha & Vincent, Ilkley
- Andrew Wilson, Gregg's Restaurant, Sevenoaks
- Christopher Golding Nahm, Restaurant at the Halkin Hotel, London
- Daniel Cox, Compass Group's Restaurant Associates
- Ryan Simpson, Winteringham Fields, Lincolnshire
- Alistair Dale, law firm Ince & Co
- Kevin Tew, Galvin at Windows, London
- Adam Pierson, Claridge's, London
- Ryan Mcfarland, Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne, Dorset
- Kenneth Culhane, The Queen's Club, London
- Anton Scoones, De Vere Oulton Hall, Leeds
- Jonathan Hayes, Copthorne Hotel,Cardiff
- Cameron Rutherford, Chewton Glen, Hampshire
- Robert Barham, The Stafford Hotel, London
- Frank Gigas, The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire
- Robert Stephens, The Millenium Hotel, Mayfair
- Mark Birchall, L'Enclume, Lake District
- Stephen Thompson, 114 The Arch, Pudsey
The regional heats will take place concurrently on 6 March at Birmingham College of Food and Thames Valley University, with the final at Westminster Kingsway College on 31 March. The result will be announced at the awards ceremony at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London a few weeks later.
The Roux Scholar wins the renowned three-month stage at a three-star Michelin establishment, plus £5,000 cash, courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust.
Each national finalist wins a cheque for £1,000 to further their education, a day's butchery course, courtesy of Fairfax Meadow, an engraved commemorative saucier from All-Clad, sets of knives from Global plus a year's complimentary membership of the Institute of Hospitality.
This year's judging panel comprises Albert and Michel Roux, chairman of the judges, their respective sons Michel Junior and Alain, Brian Turner, Gary Rhodes, David Nicholls, Heston Blumenthal, Andrew Fairlie and restaurant critic Tracey MacLeod.
By Daniel Thomas
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