Michael Cruickshank (27), who works at Bohemia, is due to compete in the Roux Scholarship semi-final on Thursday at the University of West London alongside some of the best chefs in the country.
Winners of the final competition become members of the renowned ‘scholars club’ and are rewarded with a special three-month ‘stage’ visit to work in a three Michelin-star restaurant of their choice anywhere in the world.
Judges at the semi-finals include Michele Roux Jr, Sat Bains, André Garrett and Rachel Humphrey, who are tasked with selecting six out of the 18 competing chefs to go through to the final.
Mr Cruickshank, who is competing in the semi-finals for the fourth time, said that he is determined to walk away with the top prize.
‘It is an amazing opportunity to have reached this stage of the competition again. And while it is quite nerve-wracking to be judged by some of the top chefs in the country, it is an incredible honour,’ he said.
At this stage of the competition, regional finalists compete against one another, each cooking their written recipe while also taking part in a mystery dessert-recipe challenge.
‘You are given the ingredients with which to prepare a specific dessert just 20 minutes before you can begin to prepare it, which is petty nerve-wracking,’ he said. ‘Plus, food is so subjective that one chef could love your food while another is not as impressed. All you can do is try your best on the day.’
He added: ‘I have been very lucky with the support I have received from my team. The head chef at Bohemia, Steve Smith, has been an incredible support and has helped me to prepare.’
The judges will look for practical and imaginative use of the ingredients provided and entrants will be assessed continually while in the kitchen, by two or more judges. And chefs will be marked on their culinary skills, organisation and hygiene.
Mr Cruickshank said that if he wins he will be ‘over the moon’ and plans to have a few well-deserved drinks. In the meantime he said he would be focusing on preparing for the competition.