Pearls of Wisdom: Michel Roux

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Waterside inn, Roux scholarship, Michel roux

Michel Roux
Michel Roux
Among the most influential chefs in the world, Michel Roux set up Le Gavroche with brother Albert in 1967. Five years later, he left London for the Waterside Inn, Bray, which has now held three stars for 25 years

My biggest influence was my first chef, Monsieur Loyal;​ he taught me pastry for three years from 14. He was more than the right teacher, he was like a father to me.

In my whole career, one thing has stuck with me the most.​ My chef told me: “Young man, never forget it doesn’t take longer to do a job well over doing a job badly, and it gives you so much more satisfaction.”

Cooking is like a marriage.​ You must be totally attached to it; you must give cooking your whole heart and your whole life.

Pastry was my first introduction to food and cooking.​ It gives you the measure of everything; discipline, organisation and control – you have to follow the rules.

Albert and I have trained something like 800 young chefs over the past 40 years.​ There is no enjoyment of our success without training others.

Cooking is not there for the day.​ You’re not entering a beauty contest – you must take time and apply yourself.

I tell young cooks that it’s going to be tough for the first few years;​ it’s physical, carrying, whisking, standing long hours. Success does not come quickly.

I would be a very sad person if I hadn’t been able to provide training​ and I’m still doing it through the Roux Scholarship.

Find out about cooking first.​ Try it for a bit – if you think you might not be right for it then get out. Expect to spend 10 years learning before you can say you are a chef.

If I hadn’t been a chef I would have become a winemaker.​ I have a vineyard in the south of France – I’ve always loved wine.

Training and running the Roux Scholarship with Albert is my biggest achievement to date.​ But running a three-star Michelin for 17 years and watching my son do it for a further eight years comes a close second.

If I go to the kitchen at the Waterside it’s to say hello​ and shake the hands of the guys. I don’t wear my chef’s jacket anymore because I don’t have to cook anymore. I enjoy tasting and looking at what is being done, but it’s not my kitchen anymore – it’s Alain’s. I’m just happy to see my son there.

You must never push your children into the business – ​they must choose to enter the world of cooking by themselves.

I love Italian food,​ because it’s simple – it represents the real product of life and the Italians do that the best.

We’re incredibly lucky to have our children taking over​ and holding onto what we have achieved. Emily Roux, Michel Jnr’s daughter, is training in Lyon at the institute of Paul Bocuse. We think she’s going to be good!

From 15 to 19 June, Michel and Alain Roux will recreate the Waterside Inn experience at Royal Ascot. The duo have drawn up a seasonal menu to be served within the racecourse’s Panoramic Restaurant by Waterside Inn staff, including general manager Diego Masciaga, and the team at Sodexho Prestige. For more information visit www.ascot.co.uk or www.waterside-inn.co.uk

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