Six Roux Scholarship Finalists Announced
The names of the six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2017 are:
- Martin Carabott, Luca Restaurant, Clarkenwell, London
- Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey
- Scott Dineen, BaxterStorey, London
- Oliver Downey, Fera at Claridge’s, Mayfair, London
- Luke Selby, Dabbous, London
- Matthew Whitfield, The Driftwood Hotel, Portscatho, Cornwall
Facts about the finalists:
– Scott Dineen is in his fourth final, Martin Carabott is through for the second time in a row and
Michael Cruickshank was in the regional final last year.
– Matthew Whitfield made it to the regional finals in 2011 and 2012, he used to work at The
Montagu Arms for Matthew Tomkinson, Roux Scholar (2005).
– Oliver Downey, works for Dan Cox (2008 scholar) at Simon Rogan’s Fera at Claridge’s.
The finalists were chosen following two regional finals, which took place on Thursday 23rd March 2017 at
the University of West London and University College Birmingham.
In London: Alain Roux, Andrew Fairlie, James Martin, Simon Hulstone.
In Birmingham: Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner, Sat Bains, André Garrett.
This year the challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people using a whole fresh rainbow trout and
800g live mussels, accompanied by a sauce and two garnishes, one to include jasmine rice.
Contestants had 2½ hrs to cook their dish as originally submitted along with a dessert from a list of mystery
ingredients given to them on the day.
The 2017 mystery box
The brief was to prepare a dessert for four people using the ingredients supplied. One ingredient could be
omitted but at least 50% of the following ingredients had to be used:
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml whole milk
- 4 medium eggs
- 200g plain flour
- 150g unsalted butter
- 15g fresh yeast
- 4 lemons
- 200ml double cream
- 220g strawberry jam ‘Francis Miot’ (60% strawberry/39% cane sugar)
Quotes from the judges:
Michel Roux Jr. “It was a great cook off today which bodes well for the final where knowledge of the
classics will come into play.”
Alain Roux. “I could tell which chefs had practiced, it showed in the way they prepared the trout. A few
lacked the skill to fillet and portion correctly without waste and the result was that some of the fish we tasted was unevenly cooked. The best got it spot on – moist and slightly pink, just what we were looking for! The chefs used a wide variety of different ingredients and techniques, some were a bit too complex and although the dishes looked pretty they didn’t deliver on taste. More is not always good! The complexity of the main dish caused problems for some, leaving a lack of time to focus on their pudding.
“When comparing notes with my cousin we had to make some difficult choices but we’ve got six strong
chefs in the final which will make for an exciting competition.”
What the Birmingham judges said:
Sat Bains. “It’s a great privilege to judge and see the stringent process from paper judging through to the
final. We got two good finalists today. My recommendation for chefs coming back next year is to please
practice, practice, practice and taste, taste, taste!”
André Garrett. “I’m interested to see who wins and what they do with this amazing opportunity. I would
have liked to taste more flavour in the rice dishes today and in general more seasoning. Did they taste it?”
Brian Turner. “It was a fairly even competition this year and the top two stood out because of their respect
for the products and the flavour of their dishes.”
What the London judges said:
Andrew Fairlie. “Overall the standard was good. The chefs going through showed imaginative use of the
trout and rice combination. The delicate texture of the rainbow trout caught out some of the other
Simon Hulstone. “Once more the desserts seemed to come second best to the savoury courses. I can’t
reiterate enough that a good dessert can carry you through to the final.”
James Martin. “Those mystery box ingredients shone out for an enriched yeast dough dessert like a savarin,
baba or doughnuts. It’s perfect for this situation, simple and easily done in the time. What would I have
done? Probably a baked savarin with lemon syrup served with Chantilly cream – leaving out the jam.”
National final – Monday 10th April 2017
The six finalists will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2017 in the final, which takes place at
Westminster Kingsway College, London. This time the recipe details are a complete surprise; 30 minutes
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 three hours to prepare and present it to the judges.
Innovative three-Michelin starred chef, Anne-Sophie Pic will head the panel of judges as honorary
president alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Jr. They will be joined by James Martin, David Nicholls,
Brian Turner, head scholar Andrew Fairlie as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar), Sat
Bains (1999 scholar) and André Garrett (2002 scholar).
The 2017 Roux Scholar will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony at The Langham, London, that
Save the date! Fans of the Roux Scholarship are invited to join the Roux family, online via LIVE link to watch the award ceremony, as the action unfolds.