A guide to making your recipe a hit with the judges

The judges judge the first stage blind, they just have your entry in front of them (names are concealed until the semi-finalists are picked to ensure it’s all completely fair).

The aim is to get your recipe noticed by the judges as one that stands out because it works and on paper comes across as one they would like to see you cook and then taste at the Regional Final. Therefore the clearer the information you provide at this stage the better.

The judges are looking for simplicity and attention to detail; a clear well thought out recipe helps them to be able to picture your dish at each stage of the process and on the plate.

Creating your recipe

Read the brief carefully and think about the key ingredients that you’ve been given. Devise a recipe using the core ingredients that both showcases your style and allows the ingredients to shine.

We want to encourage innovation, so don't be restricted by convention.  Original dishes will be looked upon favourably, but where classic dishes are included, they must be prepared in the classic manner.

It is important to consider the season that you'll be cooking the dish, usually Feb/March.

Practice & Feedback

Make sure you practice your dish, to check that it works and the flavours are balanced without clashing.

Discuss it with your senior chef and colleagues in the kitchen and ask them to taste it with you to refine the recipe and presentation.

Get the basics right

  • Make sure you’ve read the brief properly and done all that you have been asked to do.
  • Remember the judges only have your entry in front of them, so ensure that the method and description are given in FULL DETAIL.

Ensure your entry contains all of the following:

  • Put your name at the top of your recipe.
  • Name the dish. Just as you would for the menu in your restaurant give your dish a clear name that describes what it is.
  • Provide a full and accurate list of all the ingredients and their quantities
  • List the cost of ingredients.
  • Write a clear methodology for each step of the process.
  • Give details of how you will assemble & finish the dish.
  • Include a photo or drawing of the finished dish as served on the plate. While not essential this helps the judges tremendously to picture your vision.
  • Don’t forget to send your CV with your entry giving full details of the education and training, which you have received.

What the judges say:

Andrew Fairlie:

“It seems to me that a lot of chefs underestimate the importance of the written entry. As judges we are presented with an average of 70 anonymous recipes that we have to read and try to choose the twenty dishes we would like to see cooked and presented. It is at this point we start to look for the next Roux Scholar.

A recipe needs a title, a list of ingredients, be well laid out with a detailed method and a precise service description.

If the recipe is not presented properly it strikes me immediately that the chef is lazy and is not taking the scholarship seriously.

Simple things like spelling mistakes; wrong quantities or ridiculous costings could cost good chefs a place in the semi final.

Young chefs have a tendency to over complicate their dishes, my advice is to keep the dishes simple and make sure that on the day they have time to concentrate on getting every element of their dish perfect. They also need to take into account that on the day they will be presented with a list of ingredients with which they have to devise a dessert; so practicing some basic pastry techniques will stand them in good stead.

In my experience those chefs that have practiced their dishes at least three times before they enter the kitchen stand a better chance of being successful.”

See more from Andrew on this video

Brian Turner:

“The Roux Scholarship is an opportunity to put your career on fast track. When presenting your recipe remember this could change your life, so be very sure that it works and you would be proud to present the dish to the Roux family.”

Michel Roux Jr said...

Alain Roux Commented

"It was an amazing cook-off. We gave the finalists a very complex and tricky recipe however the dish showcased classic skills and Tom triumphed with his cooking, execution and great seasoning.” Find out more...

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