The Roux Scholarship judges judge the first stage blind, that means 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
It’s very important to practice your dish, a number of times, 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.
If you get through to the regional final we recommend that you find as many opportunities as possible to practice making your recipe. Ask if you can add your dish to the lunch menu in the restaurant where you work, cook it for your friends and family – the more familiar you are with your dish the better you’ll perform on the day.
Get the basics right
- Make sure you’ve read the brief properly and have 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.
Make sure 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 all ingredients, including an estimate of the cost of food items which will be provided by the college should you be successful in being selected to compete at the Regional Final.
- Write a clear methodology for each step of the process.
- Give details of how you will assemble & finish the dish.
- Include a photograph 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:
“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 100 anonymous recipes that we have to read and try to choose the eighteen 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.”
“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.”