After plenty of thought and consideration, Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr have finally announced the 18 chefs that have made it to the semi-finals of this year’s Roux Scholarship.

The finals will be held on Thursday 8th March at both the University College Birmingham and the University of West London, and the chef’s that can be seen competing are:

University College Birmingham

Aaron Lawrence – Gilpin Lodge, Cumbria

Samuel Nash – L’Enclume, Cumbria

Daniel Parker – House of Tides, Newcastle

Ryan Porter – Northcote, Lancashire

Kelvin Tan – Sat Bains, Nottingham

Ricki Weston – Sat Bains, Nottingham

JUDGES – Alain Roux, Brian Turner, James Martin, Andre Garrett (2002 scholar) & Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar)

University of West London, Ealing Site

Greg Anderson – Morston Hall, Norfolk

Sven-Hanson Britt – Miele GB, Oxfordshire

Martin Carabott – 85 Piccadilly, London

Ben Champkin – L’Enclume, Cumbria

Michael Cruickshank – Bohemia, Jersey

Richard Giles – Sorrel, Surrey

Kamil Jedrzejewski – Hilton, York

Daniel Lines – Restaurant Associates (KPMG), London

Oliver Marlow – Roganic, London

Karl O’Dell – Petrus, London

Drew Snaith – Mare Street Market, London

Fergus Wilford – Cliveden House, Berkshire

JUDGES – Michel Roux Jr, Angela Hartnett, Clare Smyth, Rachel Humphrey, Andrew Fairlie (Head Scholar 1984) & Sat Bains (1999 scholar)

Each winner was chosen for their outstanding paper application and inspiring written recipe – a recipe that they will now have to execute in under 2.5 hours for the next stage of the competition.

The guidelines given to this year’s budding entrants for their recipe is; it must serve four people using two whole gilthead sea bream and a mollusc of their liking, alongside two ‘simple’ garnishes where one must include a green globe artichoke. The dish must be accompanied by a sauce.

During their two and a half hours, the competitors must also think on their toes to produce a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients given to them that day. It’s an intense battle where only six winners will be chosen.

For some however, they already know the drill and intense pressure that goes hand-in-hand with cooking at the semi-finals. Martin Carabott, Michael Cruickshank, Ben Champkin, Fergus Wilford and Daniel Lines are all back in hopes of winning the title of 35th Roux Scholar and the legendary status that goes with it.

With this year being regarded as a strong one in both a geographical sense and an establishment sense, only five competitors are from restaurants inside London and each chef’s background varies from mid-range hotel restaurants to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Brian Turner, owner of Turner’s restaurants and CBE, says: “It is really gratifying to see how word has spread of the Roux Scholarship and to see all the wonderful people working outside London qualify for the regional finals.“

With the Roux Scholarship having been designed to inspire and help British chef’s further their careers, Michel Roux Jr believes that there is still work to be done in teaching young chefs that the culinary industry isn’t just about cooking.

He says: “Some of the recipes were absolutely amazing but unfortunately some of the costings were really not up to scratch. Young chefs have to understand that the costings are very important and business acumen is something that chefs have to learn.”

The owner of Le Gavroche also adds: “No female entrants made it through to the cook-off stage, which is sad, but we will keep on pushing that and with our new judges Clare, Rachel and Angela we hope to inspire more female chefs to apply next year.”

As National Finals take place on Monday 26th of March at the Westminster Kingsway College, and the awards ceremony the same evening at its usual residence, The Langham in London, it will be nothing short of a busy and fast-fuelled month for all those involved in this year’s competition.

So, what more can we say now except good luck to all competitors. We look forward to meeting you all at the end of March!

For more details about Roux Scholarship 2018, please visit the Roux Scholarship website.We're proud sponsors of the Roux Scholarship 2018L to R: Michel Roux Jr, Albert Roux, Michel Roux & Alain RouxLast year's winner, Lucas Selby, with judges Alain Roux, Michel Roux Jr & Anne-Sophie Pic