The Roux Scholarship National Finalists Announced
Now in its 31st year, the 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.
After two regional finals, including a tough mystery box dessert challenge, involving lime, pears and coffee, the Roux Family are delighted to announce the six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2014:
Tom Barnes, L’Enclume Restaurant, Cumbria
Scott Dineen, Goldman Sachs (Baxterstorey), London
Sabrina Gidda, AIG Group London (Restaurant Associates), London
Richard Pascoe, Oulton Hall (De Vere Hotels), West Yorkshire
David Salt, BNY Mellon (Restaurant Associates), London
David White, Barclays Wealth (ISS), London
Interesting facts about the finalists:
– Tom Barnes, was in last years final.
– Sabrina Gidda is the first female chef to make it to the national final for a couple of years.
– Along with Sabrina, Scott Dineen and Richard Pascoe have got through to the final on their first attempt at the competition.
– Four of our finalists currently work in contract catering positions.
– Scott Dineen used to work at The Ritz with 2012 Roux Scholar Adam Smith.
– Richard Pascoe has dual nationality – British/Australian and competed in the Australian Bocuse D’or team last year.
The two regional finals took place on Thursday 20th March 2014 at University of West London and University College Birmingham.
In London: Michel Roux Jr, Angela Hartnett, James Martin and Gary Rhodes.
In Birmingham: Alain Roux, Sat Bains (Roux Scholar 1999) and Steve Love (Roux Scholar 1997).
This year’s challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people using one saddle of venison ‘fallow buck’ weighing anywhere between 1.4 kg – 1.6 kg untrimmed, to be served plated and accompanied by two garnishes. One garnish had to include Jerusalem artichoke and the other, a garnish of their choice, served with a sauce to accompany the dish.
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 brief was to prepare a dessert for four people using the ingredients supplied with the addition of water. One ingredient could be omitted but at least 50% of the remaining ingredients had to be used.
Quotes from the judges
Michel Roux Jr. “We had another brilliant cook-off, the chefs all cooked pretty much what we were expecting from the written recipes but some worked better than others. Overall the finalists showed great imagination and demonstrated all the skills that we’re looking for in a Roux Scholar.”
Alain Roux. “It was great to see a variety of dishes in very different styles. Good use of flavours however, a couple of the contestants didn’t manage to control those flavours. Seasoning is key and I did wonder if some of the chefs had tasted their dishes. Desserts were simple, only one was truly adventurous.”
James Martin. “It was an interesting mystery box of dessert ingredients and the desserts I tasted were better than last year, it’s so important to practice the classic skills to be ready for anything, overall everyone had raised their game.”
Angela Hartnett. “We saw some great cooking of the venison today and the desserts were better than last year. The key to success is definitely ‘less is more’ – the best I tasted were the simplest.”
Sat Bains. “I love judging this competition and seeing the next generation of chefs. We had a good set of chefs today and during the various stages everything had flavour, but it goes to show that everything has to come together in the plating. Some had under seasoned and some had over seasoned. Some of the chefs need to improve their tasting skills. They’ve realised that and I wish them good luck for next year.”
Steve Love. “I have to say all the dishes looked great on paper but some fell down by the chefs not accurately tasting their dishes. The desserts were not overly inspiring. For me it’s always an honour to be part of the judging panel for the Roux Scholarship. This is the only competition in the world that can get you in a Michelin starred restaurant anywhere in the world.
Quotes from the finalists
Sabrina Gidda. “This is an amazing competition and I’m honored to get through – I still can’t believe it!
David White. “I was nervous last time so I set out to enjoy it this year and I did – now I’m excited about the final.”
Scott Dineen. “I’ve got a flood of emotions, I feel both honored and humbled – competing in the final will be the pinnacle of my career so far.”
David Salt. “I’m so happy with my performance and I can’t wait for the final.”
Richard Pascoe. “I’m relieved it’s over, in the first few hours it was really stressful but I’m glad I’ve got through.”
Tom Barnes. “It was really hard today but I’m glad I made it and will be in the final for the 2nd year.”
No one went home empty handed, each competitor received the following gifts from our supporters, plus a commemorative certificate signed by all the judges:
- £100 Russums voucher courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust.
- A Moka coffee pot plus coffee courtesy of L’Unico Caffé Musetti.
- A G-77A 20cm chef’s knife with special fluted blade to mark Global’s 30th Anniversary, each in a presentation gift, courtesy of Global Knives.
- A visit to the Fairfax Meadow Factory in London where skilled butchers present a meat demonstration courtesy of Fairfax Meadow.
National final – Monday 14th April 2014
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 2014 Roux Scholar will be announced the same evening in an award ceremony, held at The Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London.
More details about our supporters are available on the Roux Scholarship website: www.rouxscholarship.co.uk