How to support a chef to enter the competition

Could you support a chef to enter?

Many of our previous winners have benefited from having a supportive boss, colleague or friend to act as their mentor for entering The Roux Scholarship, so if you have a talented chef in your brigade or who you know from another establishment, why not give them a nudge and support them? If they get through to the final, the chef will invite you to join us at the exciting awards dinner when the winner will be announced. Meanwhile, having a chef win or be a finalist in The Roux Scholarship is excellent PR for the restaurant.

Here are our top tips for helping a chef enter:

  1. Offer to help
    With kitchens being so busy, a young chef might have the skills and talent to enter, but not the confidence to ask for help. They might think their head chef won’t have the time to support them. Ask them ‘Why don’t you give The Roux Scholarship a try? I’ll help you,’ and it might be just what they need to hear.
  2. Check the rules
    Does your potential mentee fit the criteria for entry? Their date of birth must fall between 1/2/1994 and 31/1/2002 to qualify for entry. They must also be resident in the UK and have their NVQ Level 2, or equivalent qualification. See all the rules here.
  3. Ask them to register their entry
    The first step to entering is to register: they will need their CV to do this. Once done,  the team at the IOH will check their eligibility and send them the link to upload the recipe application form.
  4. Do they understand the brief?
    Talk through the brief with them and encourage their ideas, ask them to think about each component of the dish how they complement each other. Remember if they reach the regional finals, they will also have to make a dessert with the mystery box ingredients, so remind them to factor in enough time to make both.
  5. Read the advice on the website
    This website is full of advice for chefs to follow. See the interviews on the judges’ pages; follow the advice from the previous winners; study the example recipe. You can also watch our videos on the YouTube Channel.
  6. Help them source the ingredients.
    If you can source the ingredients through the restaurant’s suppliers for the recipe challenge, then the chef can practise with them on their day off, or between shifts. Once their recipe is finalised, maybe it could be added to your specials menu to gain feedback?
  7. Practising the recipe
    Support the chef to practise the recipe, help them by tasting it and giving comments and suggestions of what they might tweak to make improvements. Usually three or four run throughs (either of the full recipe or each component) is enough. Too many and they might get sick of their own dish. They need to love cooking the dish and enjoy doing so. Advise them to take photos of the dish each time, so they can pick the best ones for the final submission.
  8. Practise mystery box desserts
    If the chef gets through to the regional finals, they will have to create a dessert alongside their dish with a box of mystery ingredients. You can help them practise this challenge by helping them learn basic, classic dessert recipes that can easily be adapted; give them mystery box challenges to practise.
  9. Writing out the recipe
    Follow the example recipe on this page on the website, writing out each component with ingredients and method separately, and then final assembly instructions. They must include their costs too, so help them work these out correctly.
  10. Proofreading the recipe
    Often it is the spelling, punctuation and grammar that makes a recipe hard to read, even if it is a superb dish. Ask fellow chefs to read it to see if they can easily follow the instructions, ask a friend or colleague who writes well to proofread it and make amendments.
  11. Upload the recipe
    To submit the recipe application, save the recipe as a pdf, and upload to the link that was sent to the chef by the Institute of Hospitality team when they registered. They will also need to answer a few questions and upload a head and shoulders photo of themselves in chef whites.
  12. Take note of the competition dates
    This year’s regional finals are on 7th March 2024. This is approximately two weeks after the announcement of who has made it through, so if the chef needs more than two weeks’ notice to book the day off, they should do so even before the announcement, just in case!
Good luck!