After the exciting regional finals in London and Birmingham, the Roux family is delighted to announce the names of the six chefs who will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2019 on
1st April 2019.
Judging in London, at University of West London, Michel Roux Jr said: “Amazing standard. Every year it just gets better and better and the correctness of the cooking and the seasoning was beyond reproach.” Many of the judges were impressed by how evident it was that the chefs had practised their dishes over and over. James Martin said: “They’d all practised, practised, practised, and you can tell. Those who’ve practised have really nailed it.”
Two of the finalists come from The Ritz, Spencer Metzger, who competed in Birmingham, and Ryan Baker, who competed in London, both of whom entered for the first time this year. Ryan said: “I’m ecstatic that I got through. I’m really excited about taking the next step. I practised on all my days off, over the last couple of months – practised, practised, practised, and it really paid off.”
Meanwhile, Olivia Catherine Burt from Claridge’s also entered for the first time this year. “I’m super-excited. It’s a really big achievement. I practised from the moment I heard I’d got through. It’s always quite difficult work and practising,. I’ve had lots of support from my head chef Martyn [Nail] and also Matt [Starling] from when I worked at Fera.”
Meanwhile in Birmingham, some of the chefs struggled to cook their dishes and the mystery box dessert within the time given. Judge Angela Hartnett said: “My advice would be to future entrants: when thinking about the paper entry, save time for the dessert.”
Chairman Alain Roux said: “There was a level of complexity in a lot of the dishes, which cannot be easy to execute at that level. The result was that the desserts were not so well-executed and they should have properly cooked and poached the fruit.”
Six National Finalists 2019
Ryan Baker, The Ritz, London
Olivia Catherine Burt, Claridge’s, London
Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey
Adam Harper, The Cavendish Hotel at Baslow, Derbyshire
Lewis Linley, Vacherin, London
Spencer Metzger, The Ritz, London
One reserve (who will compete if a chef has to drop out):
Samuel Nash, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
The 2019 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:
- 200ml double cream
- 4 medium eggs
- 100g plain flour
- 100g golden syrup
- 150g unsalted butter
- 80g fresh ginger root
- 4 oranges
- 4 medium-sized Cox apples
- 500ml Thatchers Katy cider
Quotes from the chairmen:
Michel Roux Jr: “Amazing standard. Every year it just gets better and better and the correctness of the cooking and the seasoning was beyond reproach.”
Alain Roux: “There was a level of complexity in a lot of the dishes. The chefs have pushed themselves and in the time frame given, it can’t be easy to execute at that level. There was a lot of complex dishes. The results being that the desserts were not so well executed and they should have properly cooked and poached the fruit. All of the chefs showed an impressive level of skill. They need to improve their palate and need to taste their food. .”
Comments from Birmingham judges:
Simon Hulstone: “You’ve got to factor in that if you’re not cooking in your own kitchen you should add half an hour to your preparation and cooking time”
Angela Hartnett: “One of the guys who went through, had produced one of the best sauces I have ever tasted in this competition. My advice would be to future entrants, when thinking about the paper entry, save time for the dessert.”
Comments from London judges said:
Sat Bains: “It’s a really good year – I’m impressed. It’s always difficult under pressure. It’s a really strong year and I enjoyed tasting all the food.”
James Martin: “They’d all practised, practised, practised, and you can tell. Those who’ve practised have really nailed it.”
What happens next?
The six finalists will compete for the title of Roux Scholar 2018 in the final, which takes place at Westminster Kingsway College, London on Monday 26th March. 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.
Legendary chef Michel Guérard will join the panel of judges as Honorary President, alongside joint chairmen Alain and Michel Jr. They will be joined by Brian Turner, James Martin, head scholar Andrew Fairlie as well as previous winners Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar), Sat Bains (1999 scholar) and André Garrett (2002 scholar) and three new judges, Angela Hartnett, Clare Smyth and Rachel Humphrey. The 2018 Roux Scholar will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony at The Langham, London, that same evening.
Quick facts about the finalists:
- This is the third time Martin Carabott is through to the national final; and second time Ben Champkin has been in the national final.
- Fergus Wilford works for André Garrett at Cliveden House, Berkshire. He was also in the 2017 regional finals.
- Martin Carabott has previously won British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year (2016) and was a finalist in the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year (2017).
- Three finalists – Ben Champkin, Sam Nash and Oliver Marlow – work for Simon Rogan.
Each competitor received the following gifts from our sponsors, as well as a commemorative certificate signed by all the judges:
- A Kazoku set of three Global Knives.
- A cafetière pot with coffee, courtesy of L’Unico Caffé Musetti.
- A TRUEfoods notebook and tasting spoon.
- A bottle of The Balvenie Doublewood Aged 12 Years and a bottle of The Balvenie Caribbean Cask Aged 14 Years.