All Change as The 2023 Roux Scholarship Opens for Entries

The Roux Scholarship 2023 is now open for entries with the age for entry raised to 31 for the first time.

The traditional 3-month stage prize has been changed to a choice of either a 2 month stage at a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, or a bespoke training programme tailored to the winner’s career goal.

However, the biggest challenge the 39-year-old competition faces is that of relevance. In the history of the scholarship there has only ever been one female winner and chairman Alain Roux accepted that the competition “needed to evolve.”

“It’s normal that after all these years people might start to think it’s outdated,” Roux told The Caterer. “We wanted to move things on and get away from having that stamp of being all about French food. Of course, we love it, but you can use those techniques in pretty much every style of cooking around the world.”

The competition wants to attract more female entrants and is actively looking at new ways to create a level playing field for all chefs. A whitepaper on the subject, created by leading female chefs including Sally Abé, disclosed that the perception of the competition is that is a “boys club.”

“You don’t need to work in a Michelin-starred kitchen to enter,” Alain Roux explained. “The Roux Scholarship is a challenging competition and we want people to realise that any style of chef can reach that top level – whether they work in a hospital, pub or a care home. It can be enriching personally and professionally and you can gain so much value from entering, even if you don’t get that far.

“The competition is open to everybody, and we want to spread the word and make sure people are not put off. We want to give everyone the same chance so they can win.”

The new prizes reflect the changing styles and goals of chefs. The tailored prize could include learning Japanese knife skills in Tokyo or chocolate making in France and can be taken at a convenient time in the chef’s work schedule, according to the scholarship.

There has also been a shakeup in prize money. The winner will receive up to £12,000 to support their career development as well as prizes from sponsors. £6,000 of this will be awarded to them on completion of 15 months’ service with their current employer following the competition. But, should the chef move on in that time that money will go to the original employer to develop their existing brigade.

Recipe Challenge

The 2023 competition has asked entrants to create a recipe for four people using the following ingredients and criteria:

This year the age limit for the competition has been raised to 31-years-old to compensate for the time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chefs can enter if they turn 31-years-old on or after the 1 February 2023.

Chefs have until midnight on 31 January 2023 to submit their recipes, which will be judged blind, via the online application system.

Regional finals will take place at University College Birmingham and the University of West London on 9 March ahead of the national final at Westminster Kingsway College in London on 3 April.