The Roux Scholarship is among the most prestigious culinary competitions in the world and Roux Scholarship winners can expect career changing opportunities.
This includes the much coveted 3 month stage at a 3 star Michelin restaurant but that is just the start. Winners can expect advice and guidance from the Roux family for the duration of their career.
The Roux Scholarship is more than just a competition. It is an opportunity. If you win then your life as a chef changes. You become a member of a unique club, the scholars club. You get to go on a unique “stage” to any of the 3 star Michelin restaurants in the world. Previous winners have visited Paris, with Pierre Gagnaire, The French Laundry in California, Jean Georges, New York City and El Celler de Can Roca in Spain.
Taking part in the competition is a way of measuring yourself in the world of fine dining and an opportunity to meet other chefs, meet the judges and open up a new horizon just by turning up. Anyone can win this competition. What you have to do is believe in yourself on the day, not be afraid of asking the judges for help – remember they want you to succeed – and make sure you keep your flavours simple and stay within your technical range.
Many of the winners of the Roux Scholarship tried more than once, some as many as three times. It is a tough competition but no one is saying you can’t try again. You never know, this just might be your year. Previous winners have come from different backgrounds including contract catering and so the world of fine dining is open to just about any chef in the country. Who knows, maybe the next Roux scholar could be you?
Previous Roux Scholarship winners include Simon Hulstone, Andre Garret, Sat Bains and of course the first winner Andrew Fairlie.
Alain and Michel have become more involved in the completion over the years with the view of taking the reins once Albert and Michel Roux Snr. decide it’s time to take a back seat. Michel said: “Alain and I, over the years, we’ve taken a more active role in running the competition but uncle is still the driving force. It remains a very strong and family run competition.”
To enter, you must be in full-time employment as a chef in the UK and be aged 22 or above, you must also be trained to NVQ level three, but in an out an out cooking competition why is that and would they consider allowing younger chefs to take part? “That’s an interesting question,” said Michel. “And not something we’ve contemplated. You can enter at 22 but even that’s young, but it’s an interesting concept.”
He added: “The competition is for professionals, we are looking for the minimum requirements and a level three NVQ is just what we want and what we look for. We also look for attitude, aptitude and ability – the three a’s! Also character, ultimately they will be a Roux ambassador so they need the right character. But it’ not just down to me, it’s a family decision along with our other judges.”
They often have a difference of opinion when it comes to the competition so imagine being around the Roux family dinner table. “When we do get together for dinner it gets quite heated,” said Michel. “As you can imagine we all have our own opinions!” Michel doesn’t just have quality cooking in his blood he has honed his skills in some of the best kitchens in the world. So what advice does he have for budding scholars who may want to follow in his footsteps, what has stuck with him from the early days? “Don’t be late!” He said. “I was late a few times during my apprenticeship so I got punished by my boss – now I’m always early.”