Overall ranking: 55
Chef ranking: 14
Michel Roux Jnr - Snapshot
Michel Roux Jnr - Career guide
Roux, who was born in 1960, underwent comprehensive training from 1976 interspersed with stints at Le Gavroche. His training included two years from 1980 under his key influence, Alain Chapel at Mionay in France.
His French experience included military service at the Elysée Palace, plus time at 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, in 1991, he took over the reins at Le Gavroche as 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 July 2005 Roux became patron of the new Academy of Chocolate and, in April 2006, he became a consultant for Compass Group’s fine-dining division, Restaurant Associates (RA). It was as part of the RA partnership that Roux opened a new restaurant in London’s Parliament Square in 2009.
Roux has made various television appearances, including on ITV1’s Hell's Kitchen and as an expert judge on BBC2's professional edition of Masterchef, adding some welcome gravitas to the show.
Roux has also written five books: Le Gavroche Cookbook, The Marathon Chef, Vin de Constance Cookbook, Life in the Kitchen and Matching Food and Wine, which was named the best book on matching wine and food at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Roux is an accomplished marathon runner, with 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.
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 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 last year: "These mousses and foams that have popped 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. People make potato purée out of it for God's sake."
Roux is equally passionate about developing young chefs, most specifically through the Roux Scholarship, which has been running since 1984. Past winners of the competition – who win a three-month stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant – include Andrew Fairlie, Sat Bains and Simon Hulstone. Daniel Cox, the 2008 scholar, is head chef at Roux’s new restaurant in Parliament Square.
Michel Roux Jnr - Further information