Alain Roux left ‘disappointed’ by lack of female chefs applying for the Roux Scholarship 2017

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd March 2017

Chef Alain Roux, chef patron of The Waterside Inn which has three stars in the Michelin Guide UK, claims the lack of female chefs in the industry is the reason behind more men applying for the prestigious Roux Scholarship 2017.

Responding to a tweet earlier this week, questioning a picture he had posted of the Roux Scholarship finalists’ trip which featured an all male lineup, Alain Roux tweeted: “Very few [female] chefs seem to apply for the Roux Scholarship. Until they do it will be an all-male domain. Very disappointed.”

The tweet came after fellow Twitter user, Susi Hester asked: “Honestly curious, why do you think only men are there?” Susi was referring to a previous tweet from Alain which was celebrating the e-book of the Roux Scholarship finalists’ trip to California 2016 which was accompanied by an all-male picture of the finalists and attendees.

Speaking to The Staff Canteen, Alain said: “Unfortunately there are statistically less women in the industry and as a result there has always been a much lower number of female applicants than male. With less than 10% of the total number applying on average it follows that there are fewer women who get through to compete.”

Alain Roux
Alain Roux

Sabrina Gidda, who has competed in two Roux Scholarships and is now head chef at Bernardi’s, has previously spoken about the issue. Speaking in 2016 Sabrina commented that it was ‘a bit worrying’ that she was the only woman out of 120 chefs to be in the previous year’s competition.

Asked why she thought there was a lack of female chefs entering the competition, Sabrina told The Staff Canteen: “The competition is open to everyone so perhaps we just need to keep encouraging all chefs to enter. Fundamentally the competition isn’t about gender, it’s about young chefs with great talent and great promise challenging themselves to develop, progress and be a part of something very special.”

Sabrina added: “It would be brilliant to see more female chefs make it through to the later stages of the competition and hopefully win - what an honour that would be for someone!”

>>> Read about the Roux Scholarship here

The first, and last, female chef to go on and win the competition was Mercy Fenton in 1994. The official Roux Scholarship website said her win had ‘opened doors’ describing the award as ‘pivotal’ to her future career.

Anne -Sophie Pic, who is best known for gaining three Michelin stars for her restaurant, Maison Pic, in Southeast France, has been chosen as the competition’s honorary president of judges, a move Alain hopes will encourage and inspire more female chefs to enter.

Alain said: “This is a tough competition and it’s open to all, it takes grit and determination and rarely have chefs succeeded in winning the first time. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see more women competing and going on to win!"

This year's winner will be announced on Monday, April 10 at a lavish awards ceremony based at The Langham in London.

>>> Related: 10 Minutes With: Harry Guy, Roux Scholarship 2016 winner

>>> Read more about the Roux Scholarship 2017 here

By Michael Parker

@canteenparker

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd March 2017

Alain Roux left ‘disappointed’ by lack of female chefs applying for the Roux Scholarship 2017