Biography

The Journey so Far

Some 60 years ago, a 14 year-old boy was taken by his mother to be apprenticed to a Grand Pâtissier, north of Paris. For the next three years, Michel Andre Roux avidly pursued his craft, setting him on course for a spectacular culinary odyssey.

Born in the small town of Charolles in April 1941, Michel spent his formative years living over his grandfather’s charcuterie, surrounded by the wonderful aromas of patés, terrines and curing ham and bacon. However, it wasn’t until 1946, when the family moved to Paris, that Michel’s passion for cooking really began, inspired by helping his mother in the kitchen.

After his 3 years at the Pastry Shop in Belleville there followed a couple of years as pastry cook at the British Embassy in Paris. Michel was then taken on as a commis in the kitchen of Cécile de Rothschild’s household, rising to be her youngest-ever personal head chef. He still cites that period as “a life-changing experience” and considers the peerless Baronne de Rothschild as his greatest influence: “She schooled me in perfection, which I live and breathe to this day.”

Many medals and awards followed during the ’60s and ’70s, culminating in the Meilleur Ouvrier de France en Patisserie, which was presented to Michel by President Giscard d’Estaing in 1976.

By that time, Michel and his brother Albert had already opened Le Gavroche in London. When they arrived in the UK in 1967, they revolutionized the British restaurant scene, attracting a loyal clientele, with a guest book that read like a who’s who of actors and personalities of the day. A charcuterie followed – the first authentic one in London – along with a series of other restaurants, until the iconic Waterside Inn was launched in 1972. Michel maintains it was love at first sight: he made an offer on the spot and has never looked back. But even then, he could never imagine having three Michelin stars bestowed upon him, an accolade that his son, Alain, now carries proudly some 30 years later.

A prolific author (with no less than 12 books, most translated into numerous languages; his pâtissier’s bible The Roux Brothers on Pâtisserie has sold more than 250,000 copies) and much-loved TV chef (the Roux brothers’ programmes on the BBC reached an audience of over 2 million viewers), Michel received the OBE in 2002 and the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2004. Little wonder perhaps that the Roux family has been described as “The Beatles of gastronomy”, while Michel and his brother have been dubbed “the godfathers of cookery”.

Nowadays, he devotes his time to the Roux Scholarship, consultancy and lecturing. As you will often hear him saying, “There is still so much to do…”

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Honours Bestowed by the French and British Governments

1975 Chevalier du Mérite Agricole

1987 Officier du Mérite Agricole

1987 Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite – presented on 17/2/1990 by Président Valéry Giscard d’Estaing

1990 Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

2002 OBE bestowed upon Michel Roux by the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw

2004 Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur

Publications

1983 New Classic Cuisine

1986 Roux Brothers on Patisserie

1988 At Home with the Roux Brothers

1989 French Country Cooking

1991 Cooking for Two

1994 Desserts: A Lifelong Passion

1996 Sauces – winner of the Glenfiddich Visual Award

2000 Life is a Menu – autobiography

2002 Only the Best

2005 Eggs

2008 Pastry: Savoury and Sweet – special commendation award, André Simon Memorial Awards

2009 Sauces: Savoury and Sweet

2011 Desserts

2012 The Collection

2014 The Essence of French Cooking – voted “Cookery Book of the Year” at the Gourmand Awards, January 2015

The History of Michel

1941

Born on 19th April in Charolles, Saône et Loire, France

1955 – 1958

Pâtisserie Loyal, Paris 20eme

1958 – 1959

Commis Patissier-Cuisinier, Embassy of Great Britain, Paris

1960

Commis de Cuisine, Melle Cécile de Rothschild, Paris

1961

Military Service, Cook at the Officers’ Mess, Versailles, France

1962

Military Service, Cook in Colomb Bechar, Sahara

1963

Silver medal, des Cuisiniers Français, (Arpajon Cuisine)

1963 – 1967

Chef, Melle Cécile de Rothschild, Paris (as well as several months with the Bismark and Schneider families in Paris)

1966

Silver medal, Ville de Paris (Arpajon Cuisine)

1967

The opening of Le Gavroche, London

Finalist, Culinary prize, Prosper Montagne

1970

Silver medal, Sucre Tiré et Soufflé (HotelOlympia)

1971

Second prize, Prix International Taittinger

1972

The opening of The Waterside Inn, Bray

Gold medal, Cuisiniers Français

1976

Meilleur Ouvrier de France en Pâtisserie

1979

Laureat, Krug prize of Excellence

1981

The Waterside Inn is awarded the “Restaurant of the year” by Egon Ronay

Started consultancy with Marks & Spencer

1982

Member of the Great Britain branch of Académie Culinaire de France

1983

“Vermeil” Medal du prestige des Cuisiniers Français

Started consultancy for British Airways First Class and Concorde in-flight cuisine

1984

Plate of Excellence, Wedgwood

The Waterside Inn “Function menu of the year” Catey award, Caterer and Hotelkeeper

Roux Scholarship was launched

Michel Roux Limited started specializing in the sale of French fine wines (principally Bordeaux and Burgundy)

1985

The Waterside Inn is awarded its third Michelin star

The Waterside Inn “Restaurant of the year” Catey award, Caterer and Hotelkeeper

Laureat, “1st Veuve Cliquot tribute to the Ambassadors of the French cooking of the world”

Laureat, “Personality of the year – Gastronomy in the world”

1986

Laureat, “Culinary Trophy” – personality of the year in patisserie”, association of French patissiers de la “Saint Michel”

1988

Started consultancy with Celebrity Cruises

1989

Man of the year, Royal Association for Disability and rehabilitation

The Waterside Inn is awarded its third Egon Ronay star

The Waterside Inn is awarded the “Restaurant of the year” by Egon Ronay

1990

At Home with the Roux Brothers – a successful 13 week cookery programme broadcast on BBC2 with his brother Albert

1992

The opening of eight guestrooms and 4 suites at Waterside Inn

1995

“Lifetime Achievement” award, Caterer and Hotelkeeper

1997

CD-ROM Desserts – 50 recipes demonstrated on pastry, biscuits, creams and sauces, cold desserts, small cakes, warm desserts, ice-creams and sorbets

“Waterford Wedgwood Hospitality” award, Wedgwood

1999

“Lifetime Achievement” Catey Award, Hotel & Restaurant magazine

“Millennium chef hall of fame” award, Culinary Institute of America

2002

The Waterside Inn is awarded the “Restaurant of the Year” by Square Meal magazine

“Honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts” Johnson & Wales University, USA

The “Silver Joker”awarded  by the Italian Association of the Sommeliers

Grand Prix Memoire et Gratitude de L’Academie Internationale de la Gastronomie

2003

Tribute awarded by Madrid Fusion to acknowledge his Nouvelle Cuisine cooking in Europe

2004

Goodwood Park, Singapore – Gordon Grill – promotion

Five star diamond award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences

“Prestige Medal” awarded by Les Cuisiniers Français

2005

Goodwood Park, Singapore – Gordon Grill – promotion

Craft Guild of Chefs Awards (special award for contribution to the hospitality industry)

Burj Al Arab /Emirates Towers, Dubai – Vu’s restaurant

2006

Sydney, Australia – Shangri-la – promotion

Miami – Casa Casuarina (dinner held for 160 covers, in conjunction with a team of the Johnson & Wales University –  Mr Roux was made Doctor of Culinary Arts of Johnson & Wales University in 2002), USA

Jumeirah /  Festival of Taste, Dubai – Pisces restaurant – promotion

Brisbane, Australia – Hilton Hotel (Masterclass and Food & Wine Festival held at the Hilton Hotel) & Young Chef of the Year

Lifetime Achievement Award – The World`s 50 Best Restaurants by Restaurant Magazine

“Honorary Professor” awarded by Thames Valley University, UK, for distinguished contribution to the catering industry and for being a role model for university students

2007

Gstaad, Switzerland – Grand Hotel Bellevue – promotion at Prado restaurant

Venice, Italy – 4 days cookery school held at Cipriani Hotel

Goodwood Park, Singapore – Gordon Grill – promotion

AA Lifetime Achievement Award

2008

Melbourne, Australia, Food & Wine Festival & Masterclass

Cornell University, USA  : Masterclass and conducting a dinner for 150 covers

Burj Al Arab / Festival of taste, Dubai – promotion

Lifetime Achievement Award – Tatler Restaurant Awards

Silver Catey Award – 25th Anniversary of Catey Awards

2009

Goodwood Park, Singapore – Gordon Grill – promotion

Bluche, Switzerland – Presentation speech made at Les Roches International Institute of Hotel Management to the F & B/Operation Management students in  BSC International Hospitality Management

2010

Sydney, Australia – Shangri-la (Promotion & Food & Wine Festival held at the Shangri-La) & MasterChef TV programme : judge & guest of honour

Ritz Carlton, Singapore – Millenia restaurant – promotion

Hotelympia Lifetime Achievement Award

2011

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok – Le Normandie restaurant – promotion

Observer Food Monthly Lifetime Achievement Award

2012

The Roux Legacy – an exclusive 10 episode series from Cactus TV (broadcast on The Good Food Channel) showing the Roux family working and cooking alongside each other

Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong – Caprice restaurant – promotion

Opened La Maison 1888 at The Intercontinental Hotel, Danang, Vietnam

2013

Roux Scholarship 30th Anniversary broadcast on Sky and Virgin

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok – Le Normandie restaurant – promotion

2014

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok – Le Normandie restaurant – promotion

CIA University in New York – Opening speech on graduation day – Given the title of Ambassador of the Culinary Institute of America

MasterChef, Poland; judge and guest of honour

Ambassador of the Culinary Institute of America (in recognition of distinguished service to the food service and hospitality Industry and for support of and contribution to Culinary Education

2015

Opened Le Miedzor in Crans-Montana, Switzerland

2016

Langkawi Datai, Malaysia – The Dining Room restaurant – promotion

Mandarin Oriental, Taipei – The Chairman’s Residence restaurant – promotion

Bluche, Switzerland – Presentation speech made at Les Roches International Institute of Hotel Management to the final year students and post-graduates in  BSC International Hospitality Management

Inducted into the Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame

Member of Les Grandes Tables du Monde