The competition is open to chefs aged 22-30. Following the delays to the competition caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we extended the age limit by one year. For the 2023 competition, chefs born on or before 1st February 1992 are eligible to enter.
To participate, you must be in full-time employment as a chef in the United Kingdom. Entrants must have undertaken some, or all, of their training and/or apprenticeship in Great Britain or Ireland. Entrants would normally be expected to have either passed their NVQ level 2 or equivalent. Those who qualified in Ireland must have obtained their NTCB Certificate in Professional Cookery. However, if a candidate does not possess these qualifications, in special circumstances an exception can be made. Supporting documentation and/or references will be required from existing or past employers.
The first stage of the competition is to submit a recipe using specified ingredients, which change every year. This round is judged blind, so judges don’t know the name, establishment, age or gender of the entrant. The recipe is judged on only its content. See the Competition Overview page for more information on what happens next.
The Roux Scholarship is more than just a competition; it is an opportunity. Each year, the life of one talented chef changes forever. The biggest prize is the chance to train in a three-star Michelin kitchen, anywhere in the world. With all expenses paid, the Roux Scholar lives in their chosen location and, each day they go behind the scenes in a restaurant they admire to see how their heroes have gained global notoriety. As well as the ‘stage’, the chef’s first year as a scholar also sees them enjoy some amazing trips in Europe and North America, along with an incredible collection of prizes, courtesy of our sponsors. And then there’s a prize fund of up to £12,000 to spend on career development. The first year is just the start: you also become part of a unique club, consisting of the previous winners – a group of honoured chefs who support and help each other throughout their careers. Every scholar can also call on the guidance of the Roux Family whenever they need it. See our Life as A Scholar page.
The judging panel is led by Chairmen Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr, with Vice-Chairman Brian Turner. The rest of the panel consists of some of Britain’s most respected chefs, including three former winners. See the judges page. Each year since 2016, we have been joined by an Honorary President of Judges for the National Final; a role fulfilled by Pierre Gagnaire in 2016; Anne-Sophie Pic in 2017; Michel Guérard in 2018; Peter Gilmore in 2019 and for 2021 Björn Frantzén.
To ensure complete fairness, the recipe application is judged completely anonymously, this means that chefs’ names, ages, establishments and genders and all other information are hidden from the judges. This allows the application to be judged on merit alone. The ratio of female to male applicants tends to be in line with the 17% female chefs working in the industry and while many female chefs have progressed to the finals, only one has so far scooped the prize. We are keen to address this, and on 13th October we hosted a Round Table discussion with some of the best leaders in the UK hospitality industry. From this, we have created a list of actions and ideas which will be implemented from the 2023 competition onwards. But we need your help: if you know a talented female chef (or indeed any gender, background or demographic) and you think should enter the Roux Scholarship, please encourage them to enter – with more applications from women, there is more chance they will win. As our judge Clare Smyth said in her speech at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018: “Lots of women are coming into the industry and we need to support them to get to the top… when they do that, they’ll break the mould and we won’t need to talk about gender any more.”
We are grateful that a number of dedicated companies from across the hospitality and catering industry support the competition financially. They are carefully chosen, and many have been sponsors for a number of years. For more information on becoming a sponsor, see sponsors page.
There’s only one way to find out if you’ll win and that is to enter! Many chefs take a few attempts to win the competition, but even those who have taken part and never scooped the prize have found the experience absolutely invaluable to their careers. You never know until you try.
Each summer after the competition we add the official film to our YouTube channel. We filmed the competition as part of a TV series for Watch TV in 2013, to mark the 30th anniversary. However, in order for the competition to be suitable for TV audiences, it was necessary to change the format, which we prefer not to do.
We have introduced a number of measures, such as removing the necessity for chefs to be working full-time in order to qualify for entry. As long as the applicant is working as a professional chef in the UK and fulfills the other criteria for entry, their application will be accepted. The application form includes a request to complete our Equality and Diversity Mentoring Form, this is voluntary but appreciated so that we can use the data to improve our reach. Depending on the personal circumstances of the winner, they may choose to do a stage that lasts fewer than three months, or choose to train in a three-star Michelin restaurant in the UK. This is aimed at accommodating those with family or other caring responsibilities. We continue to use our networks and other initiatives to encourage female chefs and chefs from ethnic minority backgrounds to apply.