Meet the National Finalists 2024

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 2024 on 8th April 2024.

The Roux Scholarship regional finals took place at University College Birmingham and University of West London on 7th March and the 18 regional finalists also cooked their recipes for short loin of free-range gilt pork from the shoulder end, two fresh pork kidneys, with composed garnishes/accompaniments, one including sweet potatoes and the other can be a garnish/accompaniment of the contestant’s choice. One of these can be served separately, if preferred.

The mystery box dessert challenge included a choice of 20 ingredients including blueberries, chestnut flour and The Macallan whisky. Here are the six chefs who were successful in claiming a place in the national final – all six are new to the competition.

Photos: Jodi Hinds (London) and Matt Madden (Birmingham. Lead image, Karol Ploch’s dish.

National Finalists 2024

Ben Miller
Karol Ploch
Jordan Randerson
Liam Smith
Evelina Stripeikyte
Harrison Brockington

Competing in London:

Ben Miller: “It is an amazing honour to get through and I’m super-happy as it’s something I’ve worked hard for. Everything went according to plan, but the mystery box isn’t something you can really plan for, so I made a bunch of bad desserts in preparation for it. But I’m happy with how it went and the dessert was one of my best desserts.”

 Karol Ploch: “I’m excited but really nervous. Today was how I expected it to be, and I was pleased about how it went. Now we just have to see how the final goes.”

 Jordan Randerson: “It was amazing. It was a very, very tough day, but I got through it. I would so recommend people enter it but to be well prepped. I’ve never been in a college kitchen before, because I didn’t train at college, so it was hard to find my way around.”


Competing in Birmingham:

Harrison Brockington: “It went relatively smoothly today, I was happy with how the main course came out. I’m really looking forward to the final, it always looks amazing. I’ll do some research and some practice to get ready.”

Liam Smith: “I guess it’s hard to prep for the final, but I’ll be doing lots of reading of classical cookbooks. And then on the day, I guess it’s a case of keeping your head.”

Evelina Stripeikyte: “I practiced the main course quite a lot of times and it went really well. Some bits were unexpected because you have to get used to a new space, but it turned out fine, so I was happy with my dish. I’m feeling really, really excited about the final. It seems unreal.”


The Challenge

The challenge was to cook the recipe that the chefs submitted with their applications, using one short loin of free-range gilt pork, two fresh pork kidneys and sweet potatoes.  The recipes were blind-judged on 21st February by our judging panel. They had two and half a half hours’ cooking time for the dish, alongside a dessert to serve four people, made from a mystery box of ingredients given on the day.

The  Mystery Box Dessert challenge

For this year’s mystery box dessert challenge finalists were tasked with making a dessert with as many or as few ingredients from the 22 items as they liked. They were guided towards demonstrating their skills with crêpes. We appreciate excellent ingredients supplied by some of our sponsors, including Elle & Vire Professionnel butter and cream, St Ewe eggs, The Macallan Whisky and Showerings Cider, along with a selection of goods from Wellocks.


  • 250g chestnut flour
  • 200g Demerara sugar
  • 2 bananas
  • 100g corn flour
  • 250g einkorn wholemeal flour
  • 375ml Showerings “Triple Vintage” Cider 6.8% vol.
  • 100ml The Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Old Whisky
  • 100g almond ground fine
  • 100g ginger roots
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 12 standard “Rich Yolk” free range eggs “St Ewe”
  • 500g Elle & Vire Professional Gourmet unsalted butter roll 82% fat.
  • 1ltr Elle & Vire Professional Excellence whipping cream 35% fat
  • 1ltr whole milk
  • 200g agave syrup
  • 250g fresh blueberries
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 braeburn apples

We are grateful to have had ingredients supplied by sponsors Wellocks, St Ewe Free Range Eggs, Elle & Vire Professionnel,The Macallan and Showerings cider.

240307_RouxRegional_08_MysteryBox_038 copy

Judging at the University College Birmingham, Michel Roux Jr: “That was an extraordinary cook off with six very talented chefs. I think all the chefs managed the brief really well, and the use of the sweet potato and the kidneys was perfect. We had spicy, we had braised, we deep fried, we had a ragu – I thought it was all really clever. We have an incredible line-up for the 40th anniversary final. It’s going to be epic!”

Judging at University of West London, André Garrett MCA said: “It was a good and interesting day, it took us a while to finish that judging – it was one of the strongest discussion we’ve had in a good few years. It was tough for some of them, but it was good to see their interpretation of their ingredients and the brief. But to throw that crepe in there, it tripped a lot of them up a little bit. You really have to keep your eye on crepes and you have to bring in some flavour and interest.”

Judging at University of West London, Alain Roux said: “Today was a very exciting day, we’ve got some great talent for the final and here in London we chose the best three, they deserve to go through. Seeing how the chefs work, their preparation, their skills, seeing their plating  is all important, but for me, the most important thing is the tasting. And the three who are going to the final nailed it.”

Judging at University of West London, Adam Smith MCA said: “It was great to be on the other side of it, obviously I’ve not judged before, and it was great to see the diversity of the cuisine which is a reflection of the industry. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”