Overall ranking: 67 (new entrant)
Chef ranking: 14 (new entrant)
Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr- Snapshot
Albert and his brother Michel are viewed as the godfathers of modern restaurant cuisine in the UK. They put Britain on the culinary map; raised standards across the board through their ground-breaking Michelin-starred restaurants, TV series, and books; and trained and encouraged many of today’s top chefs.
Albert’s son, Michel Albert Roux, is chef-patron of two-Michelin-star Le Gavroche in London, which his father and uncle founded in 1967.
Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr - Career guide
Albert was born in 1935 into a family of French charcutiers. For much of his early career he cooked for wealthy individuals – notably Lady Astor and Peter Cazelet’s estate in Kent – and gained an insight into British tastes at the British Embassy in Paris.
In 1967, Albert and his brother Michel opened Le Gavroche in London’s Lower Sloane Street (moving it to Upper Brook Street in 1981). In 1982 it became the first UK restaurant to hold three Michelin stars.
In 1972 the brothers opened the Waterside Inn in the Berkshire village of Bray (which gained its third Michelin star in 1985). They also started a catering service that Compass bought in 1993 that later became Roux Fine Dining, with Albert acting as a consultant.
Between 1969 and 1996 Roux Restaurants opened a number of restaurants and brasseries in London – including Poulbot Pub, Le Gamin, Gavvers, Les Trois Plats, and Roux Britannia.
In 1986 the brothers separated their businesses, with Michel taking on the Waterside Inn and Albert, and then his son Michel running Le Gavroche.
Michel Jr, who was born in 1960, underwent comprehensive training from 1976 interspersed with stints at Le Gavroche that included two years from 1980 under his key influence, Alain Chapel at Mionay.
His French experience included military service at the Elysee Palace, Boucherie Lamartine, and Charcuterie Mothu. In London, he moved between Finlay Robertson Chartered Accountants, Gavvers restaurant and Tante and also worked at the Mandarin Hotel Hong Kong, and his uncle’s Waterside Inn.
Between 1985 and 1990, he was a chef at Roux Restaurants and in1991 he took over the reins at Le Gavroche as chef de cuisine.
Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr - What we think
Albert and his brother Michel were voted the UK’s most influential chefs by their peers in a 2003 Caterer & Hotelkeeper survey and their profound impact on food and cooking in this country. They were awarded OBEs in 2002, Foreign Minister Jack Straw described them as “two of Britain’s finest ambassadors who together have greatly enhanced Britain’s gastronomic standing in the world”.
They arrived in Britain in the 1970s as hardcore French professionals in an era of enthusiastic amateurs. In the 1980s, they pioneered the use of quality ingredients by transporting produce from Rungis market in France.
Albert has won countless awards in Britain and in France, including three Caterer & Hotelkeeper Catey awards – the 1984 Menu of the Year (Waterside Inn); Independent Restaurateur of the Year in 1988; and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. The brothers also scooped the Craft Guild of Chefs Special award in 2005.
Albert was the youngest chef to be elected Maître Cuisinier de France (in 1968) and he was decorated with the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2005
Albert has trained and nurtured a generation of top chefs such as Pierre Koffman, Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay and, in 1984 Albert and Michel Snr set up the annual Roux Scholarship which offers the winner three months in their three Michelin-star restaurant.
Albert Roux, a founder of the Académie Culinaire of Great Britain, has explored many different avenues. He opened a boucherie in London in 1982, which transformed into a deli and retail traiteur until its sale in 1999. Between 1981 and 1999 he was involved with the five-star London hotel 47 Park Street.
Since 1999, the House of Albert Roux has operated Roux Express and Albert Roux Cafés at House of Fraser department stores while the Albert Roux Consultancy has set up restaurants at Accor’s Sofitel, The Grand Amsterdam hotel and the Sofitel St James hotel in London.
Michel Jr has scooped more than 10 awards since 1991, including two in the Restaurateurs Restaurant Awards (Restaurant of the year in 2000 and French Restaurant of the Year in 2001). In 2002, he became Maitre Cuisinier de France.
In 2005, Michel opened an outpost in Mauritius – Le Gavroche des Tropiques in the La Voile d’Or hotel – but closed it 10 months later in September when the resort owner failed to pay the agreed fees.
In July 2005, Michel became patron of the new Academy of Chocolate and, in April 2006, he joined his father as a consultant for Compass Group’s fine-dining division Restaurant Associates.
Michel has written three books and contributed a column, Roux with a View, to the Sunday Business between 1998 and 2000.
Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr - Further information
Albert Roux profile on Wikipedia
Michel Roux Jr websiteRead more about the CatererSearch 100, the list of the most influential people here
Published by: The Caterer