Legendary Chef and Culinary Albert Roux Is Dead Aged 85
Chef and restaurateur Albert Roux, who brought great French cooking to the UK with his brother Michel, has died at the age of 85.
The pair made gastronomic history in 1982 when their London restaurant, Le Gavroche, became the first in Britain to earn three Michelin stars.
Albert’s death comes almost a year after Michel died at the age of 78.
Gordon Ramsay, one of many leading chefs who earned their stripes in Le Gavroche’s kitchen, led the tributes.
“So sad to hear about the passing of this legend, the man who installed Gastronomy in Britain,” Ramsay wrote on Instagram.
Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing, Pierre Koffman and Monica Galetti are among the other chefs who rose through the ranks at Le Gavroche.
In his tribute, TV chef James Martin described Albert Roux as “a true titan of the food scene in this country [who] inspired and trained some of the best and biggest names in the business”.
A family statement said: “The Roux family has announced the sad passing of Albert Roux, OBE, KFO, who had been unwell for a while, at the age 85.
“Albert is credited, along with his late brother Michel Roux, with starting London’s culinary revolution with the opening of Le Gavroche in 1967.”
His son Michel Roux Jr, who now runs Le Gavroche and is a former judge on Master Chef: The Professionals, said: “He was a mentor for so many people in the hospitality industry, and a real inspiration to budding chefs, including me.”
Food critic Jay Rayner described Albert Roux as “an extraordinary man who left a massive mark on the food story of his adopted country”.
He added: “The roll call of chefs, who went through the kitchens of Le Gavroche alone, is a significant slab of a part of modern UK restaurant culture.”
Chef Tom Kitchin wrote that “one of the true culinary greats has left us”, and baker and food writer Dan Lepard said it was the “end of an era”.
‘An art form’
Albert and Michel Roux came from a family of butchers in eastern France, and trained to be patissiers before moving to the UK.
Albert arrived in the mid-1950s, and in 1967 put his £3,000 savings with money borrowed from friends to open the first Gavroche off Sloane Square in Chelsea.
With uncompromising standards, elaborate presentation and first-rate service, it raised the standards of haute cuisine in a then-limited English restaurant scene.
It moved to Mayfair in 1981, and soon became the first British-based establishment to carry the maximum three Michelin stars.
“An Olympic gold medal,” Albert said at the time. “I have had no other ambition.”
Its kitchen would also become the training ground for a new, enlightened generation of British chefs.
“If cooking is an art form, Le Gavroche was the Royal College of Music, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design, Rada and the Courtauld and Warburg institutes all rolled up into one, poached, wrapped in a puff pastry shell with foie gras and served with truffle sauce,” The Guardian wrote in 2010.
The brothers also launched the Roux Scholarship, an annual chef competition, in 1983, with many scholars having gone on to win Michelin stars themselves.
Albert and Michel opened a string of other restaurants, fronted a 13-part TV series on BBC Two in 1990, and published a series of best-selling books about French cookery.