The UK restaurant world lost a major player this week with the death of Albert Roux, OBE, KFO. His passing was announced this morning in a notice issued by his family which stated: "The Roux family has announced the sad passing of Albert Roux, OBE, KFO, who had been unwell for a while, at the age 85, on 4th January 2021."
Albert's son, Michel Roux Jr said his father "was a mentor for so many people in the hospitality industry, and a real inspiration to budding chefs, including me.”
It's not quite a year since Albert's brother, Michel, died. Albert and Michel were both the powerhouses behind London's big gastronomic explosion of talent when they opened Le Gavroche back in 1967. It's hard to understate the importance of the restaurant which was this country's first to win first one, two and eventually three Michelin stars. Albert and Michel also opened The Waterside Inn in the early seventies and Albert was behind the Roux at Parliament Square which sadly announced its closure just before Christmas and Roux at the Landau.
He may have been successful with Michelin, but in an interview with the Telegraph back in 2010, he said: "Obviously the Michelin stars make the sponsors happy but they don’t make a bit of difference for the diners. A whole young generation of chefs in this country have become obsessed with them, but they should just cook, and if the customers keep coming back, the stars will come by themselves.”
The brothers' hugely respected and highly competitive Roux Scholarship has given the UK a new generation of great chefs - winners have included everyone from Sat Bains and Andrew Fairlie to Moor Hall's Mark Birchall and Luke Selby (Evelyn's Table).
Here's how the food world is reacting today:
Albert Roux was an extraordinary man, who left a massive mark on the food story of his adopted country. 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. RIP. https://t.co/DgawGRQBZO— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) January 6, 2021
Like so many, my debt to Albert Roux is huge. He taught us to never settle for second best. He was fearsome, funny, kind, loyal, naughty and inspiring in equal measure. What a lousy start to the year.— Rowleyleigh (@rowley_leigh) January 6, 2021
Such a sad start to the year...Albert Roux was a true titan of the food scene in this country and inspired and trained some of the best and biggest names in the business. RIP and today I will open a bottle of the finest red and raise a glass...in fact the bottle to you and pic.twitter.com/Ph1Vs3ZWQx— James Martin (@jamesmartinchef) January 6, 2021
Albert Roux - a force of nature in the kitchen, a kind man and a most generous host. We owe him a colossal debt. It's an abiding scandal that he was never knighted.— Matthew Fort (@matthewfort) January 6, 2021
One of The kings of Gastronomy has passed. He will be missed.— Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms (@RSB1withrooms) January 6, 2021
Rip Chef Albert 😞🙏🏾🔥
What the Roux’s have created was the Birth of Modern British food.
As long as i wear a chefs jacket i am indebted to them.
Please have a drink with Michel Snr, Andrew and Gary for us all. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cBgUgLQP3T
Hot Dinners would like to pass its condolences to the Roux family on their loss.
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