The regional finalists for the Roux Scholarship 2020 have been announced, with 18 chefs represented from across the country.
The chefs were selected having submitted a paper application accompanied by written recipe for a whole hake and grooved carpet shell clams.
They will cook the dishes they entered, along with a dessert from a box of ingredients given to them on the day, at regional finals held at University College Birmingham and the University of West London on 19 March 2020.
Judges including Michel Roux Jr, Alain Roux, Sat Bains, Angela Hartnett and Clare Smyth will assess the competitors, having judged their paper applications blind, so that they aren't influenced by their identity or their place of work.
Six finalists will then be invited to the national final, which will be held at Westminster Kingsway College in London on 6 April 2020, before the presentation of the winner at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London.
Michel Roux Jr said: "Hake is versatile, sustainable and it ticks all the boxes; you can really cook some interesting dishes with it. Also, clams, hake and leek are a great, classic combination, and you can see how the finalists have used those classic combinations and have brought in something interesting or different, such as a bit of spice, to make their recipes stand out. The ones that got through are really the ones I want to taste."
Alain Roux added: "Hake is a fish that a lot of chefs use in their restaurant, so we chose it because they weren't going to be scared of cooking with it. If you look at price and quality you can do an excellent fish dish with it, and it's also sustainable."
The chefs competing for the Roux Scholarship 2020
- Ryan Baker, Corinthia, London
- Conor Bird, House of Commons, London
- Scott Braithwaite, L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
- Olivia Catherine Burt, Claridge's, London
- Benjamin Champkin, Roganic, London
- Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey
- Oliver Dovey, BaxterStorey Fine Dining, London
- Julian Elkjaer, Whatley Manor, Wiltshire
- Jonathan Ferguson, The Raby Hunt Restaurant, Co. Durham
- Joshua Fulcher, Restaurant 22, Cambridge
- Oliver Marlow, Roganic, London
- Stephen McClarty, Restaurant Associates, London
- Christos Sidiropoulos, The Ritz, London
- Tobias Smith, The Leathersellers Company, London
- Caer Timberlake, Restaurant 22, Cambridge
- Curtis Tonge, Northcote, Lancashire
- Jac Webster, Angel at Hetton, Yorkshire
- Oli Williamson, The Greenhouse, London
There are two chefs in reserve (should any finalists not be able to compete):
- Connor Wilson, The Traddock, North Yorkshire
- Nathan Cornwell, Moor Hall, Lancashire
The 2019 judges will be Alain Roux, Michel Roux Jr, Clare Smyth, Sat Bains (1999 scholar), James Martin, Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar), André Garrett (2002 scholar), Rachel Humphrey, Brian Turner, and Angela Hartnett.
Three Michelin-starred chef Björn Frantzén will judge the final as Honorary President of Judges.
The Roux Scholarship was founded by renowned chefs Michel and Albert Roux in 1984 to enable a new generation of UK chefs to train in the best restaurants in the world. The winner will receive £6,000 to support their career development and an invitation to cook and train in a three-Michelin star restaurant anywhere in the world for up to three months.