With Emily Roux becoming the latest member of her family to open her own restaurant, we take a look at the names – and places to eat – behind Britain’s most famous chef dynasty.
The chefs: Albert and Michel Roux
Brothers Albert and Michel Roux were born in Burgundy in 1935 and 1941 respectively. Albert began his career working as a private chef at Cliveden for Nancy Astor while Michel worked as a pastry chef in Paris before following Albert to London.
In 1967, the brothers opened Le Gavroche, the first British restaurant to win three Michelin stars, an achievement matched by The Waterside Inn, which they opened in 1972. Their most lasting legacy, however, is the Roux Scholarship, a competition established in 1984 to give a platform to talented young chefs.
The restaurant: Chez Roux, various locations
Albert Roux’s mini empire of restaurants brings French-inspired fine dining to some of Scotland’s finest hotels. Expect classically inspired dishes such as roast saddle of rabbit with langoustines, creamy polenta, girolles and purple sprouting broccoli.
The chef: Michel Roux Jr
Son of Albert and nephew of Michel Snr, Michel Roux Jr surely needs no introduction. The former Masterchef judge, TV chef and serial marathon runner served his apprenticeship under chef legends such as Alain Chapel and Pierre Koffmann before joining the family business, working first at The Waterside Inn and later at Le Gavroche, which he officially took over from his father in 1991.
In 2010 he opened Roux at Parliament Square and Roux at the Landau. Michel’s latest recipe collection, The French Revolution, is published on 18 October.
The restaurant: Le Gavroche, Mayfair
This bastion of haute cuisine in all its ancien régime finery evokes a time gone by, from the dark exclusivity of the cocooned dining room to the fastidiously dutiful service and the indulgent extravagance of the food. Expect classical cooking of the highest order.
43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR
The restaurant: Roux at the Landau, Oxford Circus
Michel Jr oversees the menu of the Langham hotel’s dining room and Roux luxury runs like a vein through the menu: XL Orkney scallop comes with oscietra caviar, braised turbot with native lobster ravioli. Re-opened in summer 2018 following a David Collins refurb, the light-filled room now has a central counter for solo dining.
The Langham, Portland Place, W1B 1JA
The restaurant: Roux at Parliament Square, Westminster
This reliable Roux outpost runs like a well-oiled machine. Though Michel Roux Jr is the figurehead, the kitchen is headed up by MasterChef: The Professionals winner Steve Groves, whose cooking is beyond reproach. The menu is chock-full of grand ingredients such as halibut in a seafood sauce or red-leg partridge in Albufera sauce.
11 Great George Street, SW1P 3AD
The chef: Alain Roux
Having decided to become a chef at the age of 14, Michel Snr’s son Alain spent eight years training in some of the best restaurants in France before moving back to The Waterside Inn in 1992 at the age of 23. Alain became chef-patron of The Waterside in 2002 when Michel Snr retired. In 2010, The Waterside Inn became the first restaurant outside France to hold three Michelin stars for 25 years.
Part of Alain’s training involved an apprenticeship as a pastry chef at the renowned Pâtisserie Jean Millet in Paris and in 2000 he joined Relais Desserts, the international association of pastry chefs.
The restaurant: The Waterside Inn, Berkshire
Its picture-book riverbank location may look and feel as English as The Wind in the Willows, but everything else at The Waterside Inn speaks of top-end French gastronomy served with a real sense of occasion. It’s all about silky sophistication and Gallic polish here, from the sumptuous furnishings and impeccable staff to the perfectly executed cooking.
Ferry Road, Bray, SL6 2AT
The chef: Emily Roux
The third generation of the Roux family to operate a restaurant in the UK, Emily spent her teenage weekends helping her father Michel Jr in the kitchens of Le Gavroche. She went on to study at Lyon’s prestigious Institut Paul Bocuse of hotel and restaurant management before training at Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monaco, since when she’s been popping up on numerous food-related projects with various members of her family.
Her first solo restaurant, Caractère, opened in Notting Hill in October 2018, although cooking duties fall to Emily’s Italian husband, Diego Ferrari (until recently Le Gavroche’s head chef), while Emily leads the font-of-house team.
The restaurant: Caractère, Notting Hill
Roux and Ferrari have designed a French and Italian menu which reflects their family backgrounds and also reflects six character traits, with three dishes to choose from in each section. We like the sound of the ‘greedy’ dessert selection the most, involving the likes of whole-roasted figs with gateau basque and extra-thick double cream.
209 Westbourne Park Road, W11 1EA
Want to get up close and personal with some of London’s most famous chefs? Check out our list of London’s best chef counters which will give you a ringside seat to all of the foodie action..