The Six Finalist of The Roux Scholarship are Announced

The challenge
This year the challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people using, one whole fresh Pollock gutted, weighing anywhere between 1.5 –1.75kg (maximum 2kg) and 600g live whole cockles; together served plated and accompanied by a sauce and two garnishes. One garnish to include button mushrooms and the other a garnish of their 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 2016 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:

150g clear honey
4 eggs
100g plain flour
100g butter
4 medium size Braeburn apples
300ml double cream
200g walnut kernels halves

The finalists were chosen, following two regional finals, which took place on Thursday 17th March 2016 at the University of West London and University College Birmingham.

The names of the six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2016 have been announced. They are:

Facts about the finalists:
– Scott Dineen is in his third final and Harry Guy was knocked out in last year’s regional final. All the
other chefs are new to the competition.
– Ben Champkin works for 20 Tom Barnes and previously worked for Roux Scholar Simon Hulstone.
– Paul Matthews started as an apprentice with Restaurant Associates under Roux Scholar Dan Cox.

In London: Alain Roux, Andrew Fairlie, David Nicholls, Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar).
In Birmingham: Michel Roux Jr, André Garrett (2002 scholar) and Steve Love (1997 scholar).

Quotes from the judges:
Michel Roux Jr. “We have two very strong finalists going through from Birmingham this year. A dessert can  make or break a dish. We had two excellent desserts – well executed, beautiful custards and moist cake.”

Alain Roux. “I could tell the chefs in London had worked really hard and practiced and it showed in the quality of the main courses we tasted. There were a wide variety of different techniques used, one or two a bit too complex and I would have liked the mushroom element to stand out more in the flavour of the dishes.”
“After comparing notes with my cousin I think we’ve chosen six great contenders for an exciting final!

What the Birmingham judges said:
André Garrett. “In my first year of judging it was good to see a very high standard with some interesting cooking methods, well flavoured sauces and garnishes.”

Steve Love. “Overall a much higher standard all round this year in Birmingham.”

What the London judges said:
David Nicholls. “Many chefs in London fell into the trap of overemphasising their main course and under preparing for dessert. Many desserts lacked imagination and basic techniques were missing – I would encourage the chefs who didn’t get through to practice the basics and come back and wow us next year!”

Simon Hulstone. “The best desserts we tasted today were done by the chefs who focused on simplicity and good execution of the classic techniques.”
“What would I have done with the mystery box? Probably; poached apples with a nice honey sabayon – omitting the walnuts and making sure the sabayon was cooked out!”

Andrew Fairlie. “It was nice to see so many different styles of cooking that were representative of the establishments the chefs work in. I was pleased to see a variety of great techniques that worked really well with the Pollock – an underused fish.”

Regional Prizes
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 Meat Masterclass run by one of Aubery Allen’s award-winning butchers, at their head office in
Coventry and a pack of samples to take away.
A G-77A Anniversary chef’s knife in black wooden case, courtesy of Global Knives.
A set of 6 Hildon glasses, courtesy of Hildon Natural Mineral Water.
A Moka coffee pot and coffee, courtesy of L’Unico Caffé Musetti.
A hamper of fine foods from Mash Purveyors product range.

National final – Monday 4th April 2016
The six finalists will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2016 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 given three hours to prepare and present it to the judges.

Award Ceremony
The 2016 Roux Scholar will be announced the same evening at an award ceremony, held at The Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London.

Our sponsors
The Roux Scholarship is kindly sponsored by a number of companies including: 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, Restaurant Associates and Udale Speciality Foods Ltd.

More details about this year’s competition, the judges, previous winners and our sponsors are available on