The Roux Scholarship announces its 18 regional finalists for the 2020 competition

As the regional finalists for the Roux Scholarship 2020 are announced, chairmen Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr are delighted that a new generation of chefs are taking part, having submitted recipes that demonstrate a very high level of talent. In this year’s competition, ten of the 18 regional finalists are first-time applicants and the chefs come from as far south as Jersey and as far north as County Durham.

These 18 chefs were selected from their paper applications and written recipes submitted anonymously to the judges, who took part in the Paper Judging day at The Waterside Inn on Wednesday 4th March. The 18 finalists will compete in two regional finals which will be held simultaneously on Thursday 19th March 2020 at University College Birmingham and University of West London, Ealing.

Benjamin Champkin, Roganic, London  

Caer Timberlake, Restaurant 22, Cambridge

Ryan Baker, Corinthia, London

Julian Elkjaer, Whatley Manor, Wiltshire

Oli Williamson, The Greenhouse, London

Conor Bird, House of Commons, London

Christos Sidiropoulos, The Ritz, London

Stephen McClarty, Restaurant Associates, London

Tobias Smith, The Leathersellers Company, London

Olivia Catherine Burt, Claridge’s, London

Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey

Oliver Dovey, BaxterStorey Fine Dining, London


Scott Braithwaite, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria

Jonathan Ferguson, The Raby Hunt Restaurant,
Co. Durham

Oliver Marlow, Roganic, London

Curtis Tonge, Northcote, Lancashire

Jac Webster, Angel at Hetton, Yorkshire

Joshua Fulcher, Restaurant 22, Cambridge




Judges: Alain Roux, Brian Turner CBE, André Garrett (2002 scholar), Rachel Humphrey, Clare Smyth MBE


Judges: Michel Roux Jr, Sat Bains (1999 scholar), Angela Hartnett MBE, Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar).



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 challenge

This year’s challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people using one whole fresh MSC-labelled gutted hake, weighing anywhere between 1.6kg – 1.8kg (maximum 2kg) and 600g of live whole grooved carpet shell / palourde clams (ruditapes decussatus); together plated with two ‘simple’ or ‘composed’ garnishes/accompaniments. One of them had to include leeks and the other was a garnish/accompaniment of the applicant’s choice. One of these could be served separately if preferred.  A sauce had to accompany the dish.For the regional final, competitors will have 2½ hrs to cook their dish, along with a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients given to them on the day.  The judges will be looking for recipes and methods, which demonstrate the best balance of creativity, taste, style and practicality in the finished dish.

Key facts:

Ryan Baker from Corinthia Hotel, Scott Braithwaite from L’Enclume, Olivia Burt from Claridge’s, Michael Cruickshank from Bohemia, Benjamin Champkin and Oliver Marlow both from Roganic, Oliver Dovey from BaxterStorey, Curtis Tonge from Northcote having competed before.


Roux Scholarship finalist 2019 3Michel Roux Jr: “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: “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.”

Clare Smyth MBE: “I do think we have to try and develop the chefs of the future, and the head chefs of the future, so it’s important that the chefs have taken the costs of their dish into consideration when creating the recipes.”

Simon Hulstone: “When I’m judging, I always take the dessert into consideration alongside the dishes as well. You have to ask yourself, are they going to be able to get their dessert out at the same time, or are they filling the whole time with just a main course?’.”

Sat Bains: “When you’re looking at the recipes, and reading them, you want to be thinking ‘oh I really want to taste that’ because we’re never going to taste all 18. You’ve really got to want to eat it.”

National final – Monday 6th April 2020  

Six winners selected from across the two regional finals will go through to the national final, which takes place at Westminster Kingsway College, London. The judges for the final cook-off will be: Alain Roux, Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner CBE, Sat Bains, Angela Hartnett and the Honorary President of Judges Bjorn Frantzén of Stockholm’s first three-star Michelin restaurant Frantzén.

About the Roux Scholarship

In 1984, Michel Roux OBE founded the Roux Scholarship with his brother Albert to enable a new generation of chefs from Britain to train in the greatest restaurants in the world. Not only has it become the industry’s most acclaimed chef competition in the UK with many scholars having gone on to win Michelin stars themselves, it ranks among the most prestigious competitions for chefs in the world. Since it was established, it has helped British chefs gain the international recognition they deserve. With many young chefs entering the competition each year, it is true to say thousands have been inspired and lives changed by the experience of competing.

Our sponsors

The Roux Scholarship is sponsored by Aubrey Allen, Bridor, Cactus TV, The Caterer, Direct Seafoods, Global Knives, Hildon Natural Mineral Water, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, L’Unico Caffe Musetti, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Mash Purveyors Ltd, Oritain, Regent Seven Sea Cruises, Restaurant Associates, TRUEfoods, and Udale Speciality Foods Ltd. For more details about our sponsors visit