The top scoring chef in each heat automatically gets a place in the live final at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, 3rd October at Olympia, London. It will then be down to the six chefs who received the highest runner-up scores to complete the line-up.
To get to the semi-finals, chefs have already had to impress 13 judges, including the new Chair of Judges, Gary Jones from Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons who will oversee the whole competition. He analysed all menu courses alongside David Mulcahy and Andrew Bennett who were on hand to help whittle the list down. Starters were judged by Alyn Williams, Peter Joyner and Willie Pike, with main courses being scrutinised by Clare Smyth MBE, Philip Howard, Russell Bateman and Steve Scuffell. Marking the mouth-watering desserts this year was Graham Hornigold, Sarah Hartnett and Julie Sharp.
In the next round chefs must cook-up their menu in two hours and it has to include a vegetarian based starter, a duck and cherry combination main course and a classic tart as a dessert.
Luke Selby, head chef at Dabbous, London has won the 2017 Roux Scholarship. Luke beat five other finalists in a fiercely contested final held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on Monday 10th April, where they were asked to prepare and serve Royal-style saddle of hare, chestnut flavoured tagliatelli and purple sprouting broccoli.
The 26-year-old chef, who entered the competition for the first time this year, was battling it out against Martin Carabott, from Luca Restaurant, London, Michael Cruickshank from Bohemia, Jersey, Scott Dineen, of BaxterStorey, London, Oliver Downey from Fera at Claridge’s, London and Matthew Whitfield from The Driftwood Hotel, Portscatho in Cornwall.
Pictured above is Alain Roux and Luke Selby with Sponsors - Direct Seafoods - Sustainability Director, Laky Zervudachi, and Michel Roux Jr (Photo courtesy of Jodi Hinds)
As a consumer product, very few types of seafood are able to compete on the same levels of supply and international demand as farmed Atlantic salmon. The increasing global appetite for this fish has seen exports grow rapidly in the last two decades, reaching a record 2.3 million tonnes with a value in excess of €13 billion last year.
Collectively, the salmon farming industry’s output has grown 7-8% annually since 1997. However, this year’s total is expected to decline to around 2.2 million tonnes with many stakeholders not expecting any increase for at least another two years.
There are a number of reasons for this supply decrease, but the biggest impacts have come from naturally occurring biological challenges in key farming areas – predominantly sea lice infestations in Norway and algal blooms in Chile. Historically, these two countries account for around two-thirds of the world’s salmon production, but both are forecast to see their respective outputs fall by 100,000 tonnes in 2016.
While there is some good news in the market in terms of salmon supply, such as higher output from Scotland this year, these contributions do very little to offset the overall decline. Therefore, combining the reduced availability with the unprecedented demand for salmon, a perfect storm has emerged whereby at numerous stages this year salmon prices have been 30-40% more than they were in the corresponding period of 2015.
Unfortunately, the high prices and declining availability of farmed salmon have left many buyers and processors in key markets struggling to fill orders in recent months.With sea lice, algal blooms and other biological challenges remaining unwanted forces to be reckoned with, not to mention fast-growing demand from existing and new regions, the market should be prepared to pay more for salmon in the future. We will all simply have to wait to see by how much and for how long.
Some comfort should be taken from the salmon industry’s determination to quickly get production back on a growth trend. As the aquaculture sector’s technological frontrunner, it is actively seeking, through heavy investment, new production areas, alternative feed sources, new technologies etc. that can help solve its biological challenges cost-effectively and bring greater stability to the market.
For information and assistance on alternative species choices to salmon, contact your local Direct Seafoods depot where our team will be able to assist you with sustainable and seasonal fish options.