The 18 regional finalists for the 2010 Roux Scholarship competition have been announced, with three of last year’s finalists returning for another shot at first prize, a stage at a three Michelin-starred restaurant.
The regional heats will take place at Birmingham College of Food and Thames Valley University in London on 4 March, where Alain Roux, Brian Turner and James Martin will judge the former, and Michel Roux Snr, Michel Roux Jnr, Gary Rhodes, David Nicholls and Andrew Fairlie, the latter.
Contestants will be given 2.5 hours to cook a rice-based dish using a selection of shellfish, and will be judged on creativity, taste, style and practicality.
Andrew Fairlie, chef patron of Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, said he and the judges would look for well-presented and precise recipes.
“We are looking for a clear understanding of the ingredients they have been given to work with,” he said. “For those that are chosen to cook at the regional finals, we look to see if they present what they submitted in the written paper: are they organized, do they work methodically, how do they react under pressure and most of all can they cook?
“With this years task in particular timing is everything. Seconds can make the difference between a perfectly cooked scallop or clam that is delicious to eat, or a hard piece of muscle that is inedible. That's why this is one of the most coveted competitions in Europe today.”
Now in its 27th year, the Roux Scholarship offers one chef the chance to experience a three-month stage at a Michelin starred restaurant anywhere in the world, as well as the inclusion into the extended Roux family. Six competitors across the two heats will go through to the national final, held at Westminster Kingsway College on 29 March.
The regional finalists, who include three of last year’s competitors, Kevin Sutherland, Quinton Bennett and Stephen Stevens, are as follows:
Matthew Thomson, De Vere Slaley Hall, Hexham
Arbinder Dugal, The Bedford Hotel, Sidmouth
Oliver Pierrepont, Heckfield Place, Hook in Hampshire.
Stephen Stevens, Cleifiog Uchaf, Anglesey
Mark Birchall, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria.
Anton Scoones, General Tarleton, N Yorks
Kevin Sutherland, Baxter Storey, Barclays, London
Alastair Dale, Ince & Co, London
Kevin Tew, Corrigan’s, Mayfair
Gemma Almond, General Tarleton, N Yorks
Kenneth Culhane, Baxter Storey, Barclays, London
Guy Fenton, The Dorchester Grill, London
Quinton Bennett, The Westbury Hotel, London
Christopher Hill, Whatley Manor, Wiltshire
Adam Peirson, Claridge’s, London
Carl Long, Drakes Restaurant, Ripley
Nick Whatmough, Restaurant Associates, Barclays Wealth, London
Tom Sellers, Trinity Restaurant, London