The Roux family – who they are and why they have influence – by Lucianne Allen
Look at the Roux family as an oak tree; creating acorns of talent that go on to flourish and in turn influence the food industry.
We could talk about how Albert and Michel Roux Snr transformed the English culinary scene and so we should.
From humble beginnings in France, the brothers went on to found Le Gavroche which became the first ever 3 Michelin Star restaurant in London in 1983 – and then purchased the beautiful Waterside Inn, Bray that similarly gained and retained 3 stars.
Their sons, Michel Roux Jr (son to Albert) and Alain (son to Michel Snr) run Le Gavroche and The Waterside Inn respectively and carry their family legacy.
Not content with having the best restaurants in the UK, the brothers, Albert and Michel, wanted to inspire young chefs to really hone their skills and take pride in their profession and so the Roux Scholarship was established in 1983. A real driver behind it that despite some great chefs in that era, Great Britain only had 33 restaurants that held the much coveted Michelin star and we were still derided by the world rather than respected for the culinary craft. Young chefs with real passion who wanted to explore and develop their skills by going abroad were met with laughter and a firm no; The Roux brothers set about changing that with the Roux Scholarship and change it they did.
A winner of the Roux scholarship doesn’t just win a trophy – they win a permanent place in the Roux wider family, having the respect and support throughout their careers of both the Roux family and their Scholars. The scholarship provides the opportunity to go and work anywhere in the world with a leading chef – all supported by the scholarship.
Scholarship feels like a very formal word for an event that feels like a coming home – the camaraderie, smiles and support at the Roux Scholarship Award Ceremony and Dinner make it feel like a party for old and new friends to relax and feel like they are with their tribe.
Michel Roux Jr once said that the most important thing to a Roux was family and food. The synergy between Aubrey Allen and the part we play in the Roux scholarship is right there – we are passionate about both and former employees of Le Gavroche and The Waterside Inn speak about always feeling part of the family and that reflects a key part of our culture too.
So why do we sponsor the Roux scholarship? Yes of course we believe it is a great legacy to play a part in but it is more simple than that. When the Roux family invite you to become a sponsor, their charisma, warmth and charm make it impossible to say no. As the leading family of food, indeed Albert and Michel were voted Britain’s most influential chefs in 2013, their humble, inclusive and welcoming manner adds to their legend. There is even a story within our own family at Aubrey Allen, that I may have been rendered speechless when meeting Michel Roux Snr for the first time.
Sponsorship of this prestigious award is about so much more than marketing and branding – it is a real honour to be able to glimpse inside the talent that put Britain on the culinary map.
More details about the Roux Scholarship, can be found here