The Roux Scholarship: Finalist Announced
The two regional finals took place on Thursday 12th March 2015 at University of West London and University College Birmingham.
This year the challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people, using two whole guinea fowl (with or without giblets), weighing 1.2kg – 1.6 kg plus 200g chicken livers, trimmed; served together, plated and accompanied by a sauce and two garnishes. One garnish to include spinach leaves and the other a garnish of the chef’s choice.
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 2015 mystery box dessert
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:
- 150g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 100g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 8 medium size candied chestnuts in syrup
- 30 cl whole milk
- 2 leaves of gelatine
- 300g fresh strawberries
Announcing six national finalists
After two regional finals, including a tough mystery box dessert challenge, containing candied chestnuts and strawberries, the Roux family is delighted to announce the six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2015.
- Scott Dineen, Goldman Sachs, (BaxterStorey), London
- Gavin Edney, Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire
- Sabrina Gidda, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, (Restaurant Associates), London
- Daniel Lee, JP Morgan, (Aramark), London
- Richard Pascoe, The Feversham Arms Hotel, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
- Ian Scaramuzza, Hibiscus Restaurant, London
Interesting facts about the finalists
- Scott, Sabrina & Richard all reached the final for the first time last year.
- Gavin and Ian are both new to the competition and Daniel got knocked out in last year’s regional final.
- Three of our finalists currently work in contract catering positions.
- Prior to BaxterStorey, Scott Dineen worked at The Ritz with 2012 Roux Scholar Adam Smith.
- Gavin Edney works for André Garrett, Roux Scholar 2002 at Cliveden House.
- Scot, Ian Scaramuzza previously worked for the first Roux Scholar, Andrew Fairlie, at his restaurant within the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterader, Scotland.
- Richard Pascoe has dual nationality – British/Australian and has competed in the Australian Bocuse D’or team.
In London: Michel Roux Jr, Andrew Fairlie and David Nicholls.
In Birmingham: Alain Roux, Angela Hartnett, MBE and Steve Love (Roux Scholar 1997).
Quotes from the judges
Michel Roux Jr. “The standard of cooking in London was fantastic and exceeded expectations, it was very difficult to split them. No one overcooked the bird, all were moist and almost everyone seasoned well.”
“It’s the best food I’ve ever tasted in a regional-final! Everyone should be proud of their efforts today.”
Alain Roux. “The chefs competing today all deserve a big credit. The regional finals are daunting and they should be proud of what they accomplished.”
“Unfortunately for a few chefs using a water bath, some meat was undercooked, and lost its shape. I don’t mind if the breast is rolled, but if you square and trim the bird, you lose the essence of the guinea fowl.”
“As a result of strong performances in London, Richard was the only finalist from Birmingham. His dish was beautifully prepared, and nicely presented, de-boned with the legs, and breast etc all worked in different ways. There were not too many ingredients on the plate. The ballotine of guinea fowl looked very pretty and the whole dish was well executed. The seasoning was very good and the sauce had good flavour.”
Andrew Fairlie. “The desserts I tasted in London were better than ever. Candied chestnuts are difficult to work with and not something you come across often, it’s brave that so many of the chefs used them.”
“What would I have cooked if it was me? I’d have omitted the strawberries and made a classic Mont Blanc dessert with pureed chestnut, using shards of meringue for the peaks.”
Angela Hartnett. “It’s good to see repeat contestants coming through. There were some interesting concepts, but once again the chefs here in Birmingham struggled with the dessert.”
“In the kitchen I tasted some sauces and they all tasted very good. I have been a judge for 3 years now, and we really want to take someone through who is competent enough. It’s not an easy competition. They should all be very proud of themselves.”
“Water baths should be banned!”
David Nicholls. “The level of cooking in London was high, in other years some of the chefs we sent home would have got through. I would have been very happy to be served any of the main courses in a restaurant.”
Steve Love. “It is clear that some of the chefs did not taste their food, and pastry skills need to be honed if they want to enter a competition of this calibre.”
“I won the Roux Scholarship in 1997 and it is not just the one off chance to win, it has become part of my life now. It is fantastic to be involved with the judging and give back to something that has done so much for my career and to give someone the same opportunity that I have had.”
Quotes from the finalists
Scott Dineen. “I’m overwhelmed – over the moon and honoured to be in my second final!”
Gavin Edney. “I’m stunned and excited. I’m really looking forward to the final.”
Sabrina Gidda. “That was tough! I’m close to tears but it feels amazing to get through and I’m proud to be representing female chefs in the final of this prestigious competition.”
Daniel Lee. “I’m speechless, I didn’t expect to hear my name. Now I’ve got to get working towards the final.”
Richard Pascoe. “I am relieved to get through. I worked hard for last year’s final, and I will work hard for this year’s final. My preparation will be lots of reading from Larousse Gastronomique and practicing classical techniques. I really hope that the last 2 years’ hard work pays off.”
Ian Scaramuzza. “I was shocked and relieved to hear my name. Mine was the fifth name to be called and usually they only take four chefs from London.”
No one went home empty handed; each competitor received the following gifts from our sponsors, as well as a commemorative certificate signed by all the judges:
- A visit to the Fairfax Meadow factory in London where skilled butchers present a meat demonstration.
- A G-77A 20cm chef’s knife with special fluted blade to mark Global Knives 30th Anniversary.
- A large bottle of Kikkoman Soy Sauce along with an iconic 150ml dispenser bottle and a Kikkoman branded apron.
- A Moka coffee pot and coffee, courtesy of L’Unico Caffé Musetti.
National final – Monday 30th March 2015
The six finalists will compete in the national 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 asked to prepare and present it to the judges.
The 2015 Roux Scholar will be announced the same evening at an award ceremony, held at The Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London.
The Roux Scholarship is kindly sponsored by a number of companies including: Bridor, Cactus TV, The Caterer, Direct Seafoods, Fairfax Meadow, Global Knives, Hildon, Kikkoman, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, L’Unico Caffe Musetti, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Restaurant Associates and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
More details about each of our sponsors are available on our website.
Now in its 32nd year, the Roux Scholarship offers the winner a career changing opportunity: a three-month stage at a 3 Michelin starred restaurant anywhere in the world. But that’s just the beginning. The winner is then part of an elite club and on a fast track to the top of the profession. The Roux Scholarship is the premier competition for young chefs in the UK and ranks among the most prestigious in the world.