Meet our regional finalists 2023
As the regional finalists for the Roux Scholarship 2023 are announced, chairmen Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr are delighted that a diverse group of talented young chefs have qualified for the next round of the competition. This year, 12 of the 18 finalists are new to the competition and they hail from hotels, pubs, private member’s clubs and contract catering establishments in all four countries of the United Kingdom.
Following a push for more diversity at the launch of this year’s competition, with the Round Table discussion and publication of the White Paper, Women Chefs and The Roux Scholarship, the Roux Family were delighted to see an increase in applications from female chefs with four qualifying for the regional finals.
The 18 chefs, and two reserves, were selected from their written recipes that used striploin of dry-aged beef, a beef offal ingredient and Belgian chicory. They were submitted anonymously to the judges, who took part in the Recipe Judging day at Roux at The Waterside Inn on 22nd February 2023. The 18 finalists will compete in two regional finals which will be held simultaneously on Thursday 9th March 2023 at University College Birmingham and University of West London, Ealing.
QUOTES FROM THE JUDGES
Michel Roux Jr: “Michel: Standard in general of this year’s entries was superb and it was great to read so many recipes that showed very imaginative ways of using offal.”
Alain Roux: “It’s great to see that our regional finalists come from all over the UK and a variety of different establishments. Regarding the recipes, I’m pleased to see so many chefs choose to cook the ox heart as part of their recipes, I really like that ingredient. In general, there was a really high standard and I can’t wait to taste everything.”
Simon Hulstone: “It’s great to see some great female competitors in the list, some are ones that I’ve seen come through Future Chef competitions and so to see them now, getting into a competition at this stature, is fantastic. But also, it’s great to see some previous finalists that have come back from over the years to have another go and to see some new names and new establishments getting involved.”
James Martin: “Speaking with the other judges, it was clear that there were certain recipes that really did stand out for all of us and that’s great because we don’t know the name, we don’t know where they work. All we get given is a number and it’s exciting to find out at the end, once they’re all chosen, who they all are.”
Main picture: Steak and kidneys dish by Nicole Benham-Corlette.
The regional finalists
Nicole works as a sous chef at Boathouse 4 restaurant in Portsmouth. She grew up in South Devon and was inspired to enter both by former and fellow finalist Ruth Hansom, but also when she saw our call for more diversity in the competition. Nicole is competing at the London regional final.
Aaron hails from Ontario in Canada and grew up cooking with his parents and grandparents. He works with Roux Scholar 2019 Spencer Metzger at The Ritz London, who inspired him to enter. Aaron is competing at the London regional final.
Jack is head chef at The Tytherleigh Arms in Axminster, Devon but grew up in Peterborough and worked in London for some years. He was inspired by his late Grandad’s cooking – his Cornish roots meant he loved fish and they would frequently enjoy home cooked meals and chat about recipes together. Jack is competing at the London regional final.
Dorset chef Ben is one of our most experienced finalists with regard to the competition as he has competed in the national final three times before. He is head chef at The Newt in Somerset and is competing at the London regional final.
Christopher Clarke is a highly qualified chef – he holds a PhD in chemistry! Christopher grew up in Leicestershire and is a chef de partie at Core by Clare Smyth in London, for this reason he is competing in the Birmingham Regional final, while Clare judges the London competition.
Max Davies is from North Wales but works as a sous chef at Aizle in Edinburgh. He first decided to become a chef when his grandfather bought him his first set of knives and chef whites. Max is competing at the Birmingham regional final.
Harry Donnelly is Demi Chef De Partie at The RAF Club in London’s Piccadilly, where he has worked for four years. Harry has previously worked at The Caledonian Club and The Square. He trained at Westminster Kingsway College and was a semi-finalist in the 2020 Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence.
Harry is competing at the London regional final.
This is the fourth time Oliver Dovey has competed in the regional finals. He is junior sous chef at BaxterStorey in London and was first inspired to cook by his grandfather, who was also a chef. Oliver has previously worked at the House of Commons, at All Senses Gastronomy, Athens, Greece, and at the Shangri-La in the Shard, London.
Oliver is competing at the London regional final.
Ruth Hansom is head chef at the Swinton Estate in the Yorkshire Dales, and made it through to our national final in 2022. She has previously worked at The Princess of Shoreditch and The Ritz London. Among her many achievements, Ruth was a finalist in the Great British Menu 2020 and won BBC2 Million Pound Menu 2018.
Ruth is competing at the Birmingham regional final.
Sam Lomas has been head chef at Glebe House in East Devon since it opened in 2021. Previous to this role, he has had a varied career that has taken him to the Inner Hebrides and to River Cottage HQ. He was a Great British Menu Finalist 2022. Sam is competing at the London regional final.
Subhan works at The Beaumont Hotel in London’s Mayfair as junior sous chef. He has previously worked at a boutique hotel and in events catering but first started cooking at his school in Pakistan. Subhan is competing at the London regional final.
Lucila comes from Buenos Aires in Argentina and works as Seven Park Place by William Drabble, in London, as a sous chef. She impressed the judges with her dish: Sirloin of Beef and Ox Heart ‘Black Pudding’. As well as being fluent in English and Spanish, Lucila also speaks Hungarian. She is competing in the London regional final.
Steven Newton is Sous Chef at Coast Restaurant at Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, Wales. He grew up in Portsmouth and has previously worked for Roux Scholar 2001 Steve Drake at his restaurants including Drakes and Sorrel, and for Roux Scholar Adam Smith at Coworth Park.
Steven is competing at theBirmingham regional final.
April Lily Partridge
April Lily Partridge is sous chef at The Ledbury. She was encouraged to enter by two of her friends, who happen to be previous winners Ian Scaramuzza and Oli Williamson. She has previously worked at The Clove Club in London and at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York State, USA. April will be competing at the London regional final.
Ryan Porter returns to the Roux Scholarship finals after five years, having reached the national final in 2018. He is now head chef at The Double Red Duke, in the Cotswolds having previously worked at Northcote in Lancashire, Midsummer House in Cambridge and Whatley Manor in Wiltshire. He hails from Northern Ireland and previously trained as a boxer. Ryan is competing in the London regional final.
Alexander Rothnie is senior sous chef at L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, where Simon Rogan has been a strong supporter of chefs entering the Roux Scholarship for many years. Alexander was taught to cook from a young age by his mother and was born and raised in Aberdeen. Alexander is competing in the Birmingham Regional Final.
Dillon is the first finalist to be coming over from Northern Ireland for some years and he works as junior sous chef at The Poacher’s Pocket, part of Balloo Inns in Newtownards. His mother introduced him to cooking and he has loved working in a professional kitchen every since the first day of his first job. Dillon is competing at the Birmingham regional final.
Yogesh Singh Yadav
Yogesh is a junior sous chef at The May Fair hotel, London and has worked in Oman as well as several establishments in his native India. He was inspired at a young age by top French chefs and now he is working in London, he considers it a dream come true to see and prepare dishes he once read about as a child. Yogesh is competing in the London regional final.
Kamil Nowak is senior sous chef at The Dysart Petersham in Surrey where he works with Roux Scholar 2010, Kenneth Culhane. He competed in the regional finals in 2022.
George Ormond previously competed in the regional finals in 2022 and works as senior sous chef at Murano with judge Angela Hartnett.