Following the regional finals yesterday, the Roux family has confirmed the six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2020/21 on 25 October.
- Ryan Baker, Maison François, London
- Ben Champkin, the Newt in Somerset
- Nathan Cornwell, the Barn at Moor Hall, Lancashire
- Jonnie Ferguson, the Raby Hunt, County Durham
- Curtis Tonge, the Forge, Chester
- Oli Williamson, the Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire
The finalists were chosen following two regional finals, which took place at the University of West London (judged by Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner, Rachel Humphrey, André Garrett and Clare Smyth) and University College Birmingham (judged by Alain Roux, Sat Bains, Simon Hulstone and Angela Hartnett).
This year's challenge was to cook the recipe they submitted with their application, using one whole fresh gutted hake and 600g of live whole grooved carpet shell/palourde clams (ruditapes decussatus). These had to be plated together with two simple or composed garnishes/accompaniments. One dish had to include leeks and the other was a garnish/accompaniment of the applicant's choice. One of these was allowed to be served separately if preferred and a sauce had to accompany the dish.
The competitors had two-and-a-half hours to cook their dish, along with a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients provided on the day. Chefs were permitted to make minor adjustments to their recipe on grounds of seasonality, as the ingredients were chosen with the original spring-time dates of the competition in mind. The mystery box included Grand Marnier, milk, caster sugar, plain flour, unsalted butter, Mandarin oranges, Granny Smith apples and orange and lemon candied peel.
The six finalists will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2020/21 in the final at Westminster Kingsway College, London. Half an hour 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 up to three hours to prepare and present it to the judges.
Swedish chef Björn Frantzén will join the panel of judges as honorary president for the final, alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Roux Jr and joined by Brian Turner, James Martin, Simon Hulstone, Rachel Humphrey and Angela Hartnett.
The 2020/21 Roux Scholar will be announced at a dinner at the Vincent Rooms at Westminster Kingsway College, cooked by the three most recent Roux Scholars: Spencer Metzger, Martin Carabott and Luke Selby, and the catering students of Westminster Kingsway College.
The winner will receive up to £12,000 and a three-month stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant anywhere in the world.
Michel Roux Jr said: "We're happy to be back tasting some fabulous food and to finally see the chefs in action and taste the recipes we've sat on for the last 18 months."