23 July 2014

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Welcome to my world: Michel Roux Jr


With a new series of MasterChef beginning next month, Le Gavroche’s owner and chef de cuisine, Michel Roux Jr shares his views on juggling life as a restaurateur and TV personality, and why he loves to exercise.

by Ami Kang

LeGavroche Exterior - LeGavroche_Exterior.jpg‘I made the choice to become a chef and take on the mantle of head chef at Le Gavroche (pictured, right). Obviously there was pressure to deliver and continue the tradition. My father Albert set the bar very high. He was a very hard taskmaster, as he should be. And perhaps even harder on his son.’

‘Supermarkets have their place for the basics. But for anything special like meat, fish and vegetables, I tend to go to smaller, local shops. There’s a great butcher in Clapham called Moen & Sons. For fruit and veg, I go to the local Sunday market on Bonneville Road. Every other Sunday they have a fishmonger there who has hot-smoked salmon and some beautiful mackerel that I like to stock up on.’

‘A romantic dinner would be more of a dinner at home. My wife loves seafood, so it would probably be oysters, crab and lobster. Something you eat with your fingers.’

bistro union 2012 - Bistro-Union-_-M-Franke_MG_0036_resized.jpgBistro Union (pictured, left) is my favourite neighbourhood restaurant. I’m a great fan of Adam Byatt; I know his Trinity restaurant very well. Bistro Union gets the feel right – there’s fresh food on the counter and the chef is chatting to the customers. It’s that ideal neighbourhood bistro, but with a British slant. I often pop in here – sometimes for a full meal, other times just for a plate of cheese and a glass of wine. It’s usually absolutely packed, especially at weekends.’

‘There’s a beautiful tiny bakery called Le Petit Boulanger in Clapham. It’s been open for about four years and is run by a lovely Frenchman. They have very good croissants and fresh bread.’

‘My family and I are big fans of Zuma. We’ve been there hundreds of times. It’s great for me because it’s a complete change from French food. There’s a nice selection of sushi and modern Japanese dishes. There’s a great atmosphere and buzz. Its chef and co-owner, Rainer Becker, is a good friend of mine.’

‘I find exercise very therapeutic. It’s a big stress reliever. Obviously there are health benefits, but even more mental benefits, particularly with long-distance running. After a run, I come back physically tired but mentally refreshed.’ 

‘I enjoy watching sports, especially rugby. I’m a big Harlequins fan. I’ll occasionally go and see them when they’re in town.’

‘It is crazy when you see someone on MasterChef break down and completely lose it. For some of them it’s the nerves, the cameras and the pressure of cooking for me and Monica [Galetti]. And for others, they just haven’t got the required knowledge.’

‘Some of these trendy, single-option or limited-menu restaurants like Bubbledogs (pictured, right) are great. If they deliver consistently good, honest food at the right price, then why not?’Bubbledogs_2012_-_bubbledogs-PWF-0266.jpg

‘We get loads of offers to expand and open in weird and wonderful places, but I’m just not sure about it. I have no real desire to go worldwide, no matter how much money is thrown at me, because I think I’m happiest at Le Gavroche.’

This feature was published in the autumn 2013 issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.

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