Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Michel Roux Jnr, Le Gavroche, Roux in Parliament Square, Roux at the Landau

06 December 2012
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Michel Roux Jnr, Le Gavroche, Roux in Parliament Square, Roux at the Landau

Overall ranking: 24 (ranked 28 in 2011)
Chef ranking: 4 (ranked 7 in 2011)

Michel Roux Jnr - Snapshot

Michel Roux Jnr is chef-patron of the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant, which his father Albert and uncle Michel founded in 1967, Roux in Parliament Square and Roux at the Landau, all in London.

Michel Roux Jnr - Career guide
The son of one of Britain's most iconic chefs, Roux was born in 1960. He underwent comprehensive training from 1976 in some of France's top fine dining restaurants, interspersed with stints at his father and uncle's restaurants Le Gavroche, the Waterside Inn and Gavvers - together with a spell at Pierre Koffmann's La Tante Claire in London. His training included two years from 1980 under the key influence of Alain Chapel at Mionnay in France.

His French experience included military service cooking at the Elysée Palace, plus time at Boucherie Lamartine and Charcuterie Mothu. In 1983 in London he took a month out to study with Finlay Robertson Chartered Accountants before progressing to Gavvers and La Tante Claire and the Waterside Inn. Roux also did a stage at the Mandarin Hotel Hong Kong.

Between 1985 and 1990 he was a chef at Roux Restaurants (incorporating Roux Patisserie, Roux Lamartine, Le Poulbot Brasserie, Le Gamin as well as outside and contract catering arms of the company) and, in 1991, he took over the reins at Le Gavroche as its chef de cuisine.

Roux 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 was named a Maître Cuisinier de France. In April 2006, he became a consultant for Compass Group's fine-dining division, Restaurant Associates (RA). It was as under the RA partnership that Roux opened a new restaurant, Roux in Parliament Square, in the heart of the Westminster in 2010. In November that same year, he teamed up with his father Albert, for the first time in 20 years, to launch Roux at the Landau, at London's Langham hotel. In recent years, Roux has become a familiar presence on television, with programmes such as Michel Roux's Service (2011) in which he attempted to train eight directionless youngsters as front-of-house superstars. He is also the main judge on BBC2's professional edition of Masterchef, adding some welcome gravitas to the show. He also did his bit to support British produce in the two series of The Great British Food Revival screened in 2011 and 2012.

Roux has written seven books, including Le Gavroche Cookbook; Cooking with the Masterchef; the autobiographical Michel Roux: Life in the Kitchen; and Matching Food and Wine, which was named the best book on pairing food and wine at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. He is a member of the Wine Committee to the Royal Household and in his spare time he's an accomplished marathon runner, with 17 London marathons to his credit and a best time of three-and-a-half hours.

Michel Roux Jnr - What we think
Having grown up around the kitchen, Michel Roux Jnr always felt destined to be a chef. "I can't imagine doing anything else," he says, but he didn't always believe it was inevitable that he would join the family business at Le Gavroche, thinking it "wasn't my style".

Although he did end up taking the reins, there was a difficult transition. "In part due to my father not wanting to let go," he told the Daily Telegraph last year. "I get the same problem now: being able to let go and delegate. Thankfully, I have a very good team."

Under Roux's stewardship, Le Gavroche has retained its status as the most iconic French restaurant in London, despite losing its third Michelin star in 1993 in the midst of the transition between the chef and his father, Albert. Like many other two-Michelin-starred chefs, Roux is outwardly sanguine about the lack of a third star and has, in fact, drawn positives from it, claiming that three stars "can be like cooking in handcuffs."

"People come here to laugh, to enjoy themselves and to have great food. We are not a temple and there are no hushed voices," he told Caterer and Hotelkeeper in 2007. "With a third star that would change again, and I don't want it to."

That's not to say Roux is an advocate of radical change, summing up his cooking philosophy as: "Very French, obviously. Based on the classics, but not rich or heavy. Uncluttered and unfussy."

He is also no fan of frippery on the plate, telling the Guardian in 2010: "These mousses and foams that have popped up everywhere have been a disaster. To add gelatine to an ingredient and pump in CO2 to make a froth out of it isn't food to me. It's vile, and it has no place in gastronomy. "

An increasingly familiar face on television, his commitment to training was furthermore evident in Michel Roux's Service, where, alongside other industry figures, he successfully trained seven youngsters in the skills of front of house, and rewarded three of them with scholarships in the industry. The series shed a welcome spotlight on the art of waiting - and showed that Roux wasn't shy of using modern media to up the profile of causes he is passionate in.

He has also embraced contemporary social media and communication techniques, launching in 2010 an iPhone app Michel Roux: Fine Dining with the Masterchef which was based around classic Le Gavroche dishes.

Michel Roux's ranking in the 2011 Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 >>Masterchef: the Professionals returns for a new series >>

Monica Galetti: Mixing Michelin stars with motherhood >>

Adam Smith named 2012 Roux Scholar >>" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">
Success of Michel Roux's service inspires front-of-house qualification >>](
Menuwatch: Roux at the Landau >>

Le Gavroche at 40 >>

Albert and Michel Roux Jnr open Roux at the Landau >>

Toby Stuart joins Roux at Parliament Square >>

Michel Roux Jnr joins Compass Group's Restaurant Associates >>

Le Gavrochre website >>

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