Roux Scholarship hosts discussion on how to encourage more female entrants

24 October 2022 by
Roux Scholarship hosts discussion on how to encourage more female entrants

The Roux Scholarship has hosted a roundtable discussion with top industry figures to discuss how to encourage a wider diversity of chefs to enter the competition.

The prestigious culinary contest was founded in 1983 by Michel Sr and Albert Roux but has only had one female winner in its history, Mercy Fenton in 1994.

There have historically been fewer female regional and national finalists than male despite the Scholarship encouraging chefs from all backgrounds to take part.

Chef Emily Roux hosted a roundtable discussion on the issue at her Notting Hill restaurant Caractère earlier this month ahead of the launch of the 2023 Scholarship on 7 November.

Participants included Michel Roux Jr (co-chairman of the Scholarship), Rachel Humphrey (executive head chef of Le Gavroche and Scholarship judge), Sally Abé (consultant chef at London's Conrad St James hotel), Sabrina Gidda (chef and 2014 and 2015 Scholarship national finalist), Miranda Quantrill (curriculum manage for hospitality at Westminster Kingsway College), Alisha Pereira (head banqueting chef at the Hilton Bankside hotel), Peter Avis (general manager at Galvin at Windows), and David Glaser (director of the Waterside Inn and the Roux Scholarship).

The roundtable considered the issues facing female chefs in Britain today and how these could be addressed by the Scholarship, which plans to introduce a number of initiatives and changes to the contest this year to help widen its appeal.

Gidda suggested the creation of a community of mentors to encourage chefs they know to enter the competition.

Pereira said: "The Roux Scholarship is more than just a competition; it is an opportunity. We need to encourage young chefs to compete. It is great to do something to support and celebrate our upcoming culinary talent."

Abé added: "We should encourage people to compete; that would be empowering and give them confidence. We can draw people in and tell them: we will help you do this."

Michel Roux said: "I dream of the day we have more diversity [in the final] – six female chefs and all from different backgrounds."

A white paper detailing the main points of the discussion and the resulting action plan will be published in time for the competition launch.

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