Michel Roux dies aged 78
Chef and restaurateur Michel Roux passed away, aged 78, after a prolonged battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung condition.
The hospitality industry stalwart’s family confirmed the news on Thursday 12 March.
In statement, his son Alain and daughters, Francine and Christine, said “We are grateful to have shared our lives with this extraordinary man and we’re so proud of all he’s achieved. A humble genius, legendary chef, popular author and charismatic teacher, Michel leaves the world reeling in his wake.
“We are grateful to have shared our lives with this extraordinary man and we’re so proud of all he’s achieved. A humble genius, legendary chef, popular author and charismatic teacher, Michel leaves the world reeling in his wake. For many, he was a father figure inspiring all with his insatiable appetite for life and irresistible enthusiasm. But above all, we will miss his mischievous sense of fun, his huge, bottomless heart and generosity and kindness that knew no bounds. Michel’s star will shine forever lighting the way for a generation of chefs to follow.”
After opening their first fine diner in London, Le Gavroche, in 1967, Roux and his brother Albert were credited with changing the course of British dining. Roux was well-known and highly respected not only for his formidable cooking talent but also for his commitment to the industry. In 1982, the brothers founded the Roux Scholarship, an annual competition for British chefs which is designed to enable new generations to work in lauded restaurants around the world.
Roux’s legacy reached beyond Europe. Australian chef Luke Mangan crediting his progress to time spent at the French chef’s second restaurant the Waterside Inn, which they bought in 1972, while many others were inspired him through his books, of which there are 15.
In 1974, Le Gavroche became the first restaurant in Britain to receive a Michelin star. It was awarded its second in 1977 and its third 1982. The brothers then applied their Midas touch to the Waterside Inn, which was given three Michelin stars in 1985.
The venues remain in the family’s hands, with Alain Roux running the Waterside Inn since 1982 and Albert’s son, Michel Jr in charge of Le Gavroche. Waterside Inn has retained its Michelin 3-star status, while Le Gavroche currently has two stars.
Roux was born in Charolles, Burgundy, France in 1947. He started his career in hospitality as a pastry chef at the age of 14.