Chef Albert Roux, photographed in 2010 by Richard Vines
|Spouse(s)||Cheryl Smith (Roux) (m. 2006–2014)|
Albert Henri Roux Michel operated Le Gavroche, the first restaurant in the UK to gain three Michelin stars. He helped train a series of chefs that went on to win Michelin stars, and his son, Michel Roux, Jr., continues to run Le Gavroche.(born 8 October 1935) is a French restaurateur and chef working in Britain. He and his brother
Roux, the son of a charcutier, was born at 67 Grande Rue, Semur-en-Brionnais, Saône-et-Loire. Upon leaving school, he initially intended to train as a priest at the age of 14. However, he decided that the role was not suited for him, sought other employment, and instead trained as a chef. His godfather worked as a chef for Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and arranged for Roux, at the age of 18, to be employed working for Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor.
In one notable incident whilst employed by the Viscountess, Roux managed to jam oeufs en cocotte in a dumbwaiter which were due to go to Harold Macmillan, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Otherwise, his apprenticeship at Cliveden went without problems. He moved on to work at the French embassy in London and became a private chef for Sir Charles Clore. He was then called up by the French Armed Forces to serve his military service in Algeria, where he cooked on occasion for the officer's mess. Once he left the military, he worked as a sous chef at the British Embassy in Paris, before returning to the UK to become private chef to Major Peter Cazalet where he worked for eight years.
In 1967 he and his younger brother Michel opened Le Gavroche, on Lower Sloane Street in London. It became the first restaurant in Britain to win a Michelin star, the first to win two, and, in 1982, the first to win three. The restaurant became a favourite of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
In 1984, he and Michel set up the Roux Scholarship to enable up and coming chefs to get a start in the industry. During his time in the kitchen, he trained several chefs who went on to gain Michelin stars of their own, including Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Pierre Koffmann and Marcus Wareing.
Of all his protégées, Roux no longer gets on with White, and said in an interview in 2010, "We don't talk. No, he is a truly talented man – and a man who used to call me his godfather – but he has got a chip on his shoulder". White mentions the rift in his autobiography, but explains, "Albert employing me was without doubt one of the defining moments of my life. I won't hear a word said against [the Roux brothers]."
Roux speaks highly of Gordon Ramsay: "I recognised straight away that Gordon would go a long way."
Roux had a guest appearance on the BBC television series Chef! on 25 February 1993 (episode 4, "The Big Cheese"), playing himself. The plot involved Roux having lunch at Gareth's Le Chateau Anglais, including a remarkable salmon mousse, and several wheels of (illegal) unpasteurised Stilton.
Roux continues to run a series of restaurants around the world, through his company Chez Roux Limited, including one at the Greywalls Hotel in Muirfield, Gullane, and Roux at the Landau, situated in the Langham Hotel, as well as Roux at Parliament Square. His Scottish establishments include Chez Roux at Greywalls, Chez Roux at Rocpool Reserve Hotel, Chez Roux at Inver Lodge Hotel, Chez Roux at the Roxburgh Hotel and Golf Course, Chez Roux at The Atholl in Edinburgh and Chez Roux at Alladale Wilderness Reserve. He no longer chases Michelin stars for his restaurants, but instead seeks to "...recreate the kind of restaurant I remember from my home town, offering good and honest country cooking. The kind of place you can go to eat without ringing the bank for permission."
In a poll of UK chefs carried out by Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine in 2003, Albert and Michel Roux were voted the most influential chefs in the country. In 2006, they were jointly given the Lifetime Achievement Award by S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants.
Roux has a love of fishing, and has travelled around the world to pursue his hobby, but is particularly fond of Scotland, saying, "For me, the Highlands and islands of Scotland are paradise. I can have whole days where I catch nothing, but I still enjoy every second. I am a lover of nature and fishing allows me access to some of the most beautiful and secluded spots in the world."
In 2014 Roux divorced his second wife Cheryl Smith (Roux) born in 1962. He married his third wife, Maria, in January 2018, three years after meeting her. Maria is a director in a professional services firm. His son Michel Roux, Jr. now has two Michelin stars of his own, and is running Le Gavroche.
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