Michel Roux Jr. was born in 1960 in Pembury, Kent, where his father Albert Roux worked as a private chef for the Cazalet family. His earliest food memories are the smells of the Fairlawne kitchen – pastry, sugar caramelising and stews – where he played under the table while his father and mother Monique prepared the meals.
APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING
Returning to London in August 1983, he learned accountancy at Finlay Robertson before becoming sous chef at Gavvers Restaurant in September of the same year. Michel also took the opportunity to work with renowned chef Pierre Koffmann at his Chelsea restaurant Le Tante Claire, reverting back to commis de cuisine to do so. Finally towards the end of 1984, he spent a few months at the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong, before returning back to London.
Having served his apprenticeship and training mainly away from the Roux brothers’ British business empire, he joined his uncle at the Waterside Inn, in Bray in January 1985, before working with his father at Le Gavroche from April of the same year. Michel then worked and managed the Roux Restaurants catering business incorporating: Roux Patisserie, Roux Lamartine, Le Poulbot Brasserie, Le Gamin, as well as outside and contract catering, before returning to Le Gavroche in 1990, and eventually taking over the helm as chef de cuisine in 1991, gradually changing the style of cooking to his own – classic French with a lighter, modern twist.
Michel has written several books, including; Le Gavroche Cookbook; Vin de Constance, The French Kitchen; and Matching Food and Wine, which was named the best book on matching wine and food at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. His latest book Les Abats, published in 2017, was written in the hope to change the way we think about offal and demonstrate that, with a little time and effort, it can be used to produce enticing and delicious dishes.
More recently, in 2016 Michel stepped in as presenter on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen after the departure of James Martin who left after 10 years. Michel ruled himself out of becoming a full-time host.
Michel is married to French-national Giselle, who has also worked in the restaurant business for numerous years. The couple have a daughter, Emily, who has also chosen a career in the industry.
Michel is a big rugby fan and is an honorary member of Harlequins. He also likes Manchester United, and is a keen marathon runner, having run a number of London marathons to raise funds for the children’s charity VICTA (Visually Impaired Children Taking Action).