Monday, 30 November -0001

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: MICHEL ROUX JR

…is a French-English chef. Le Gavroche, his restaurant, has two Michelin stars. He is the son of Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux, and the nephew of Michel Roux. He has written several books and fronted various TV shows.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am doing some stuff with my dad for some big events this summer: Henley Festival, Wimbledon. There is lots of corporate entertaining so we’ll be doing menu testing and going through the logistics of big-number catering, which is a challenge. Then there are the TV projects I’m working on.

When are you at your happiest?
When I’m with my family.

What is your greatest fear?
Heights. I really get uptight when I’m high up. Even just getting up a small stepladder, I get a bit giddy.

What is your earliest memory?
I do remember with great fondness growing up in Kent in a small village called Shipbourne.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
Nothing springs to mind. I’d love to be 20 again with the physical attributes of that age.

Who has been your greatest influence?
My first chef, Henri Hellegouarch. I was an apprentice at the age of 16 and he was an exceptional man and taught me not just to be a pastry chef, but also life skills. A very influential man.

What is your most treasured possession?
My signed Escoffier cookbook or my signed Eric Cantona football shirt.

What trait do you deplore in others?
Lateness. I hate being late myself and I hate people being late.

What do you dislike about your appearance?
I think I’m all right. My nose isn’t too big. I have a funny-shaped ear, but it’s never really bothered me.

What is your favourite book?
I don’t have much time to read, but when I do get time I really enjoy it. I did enjoy a book entitled Cod by Mark Kurlansky. It’s a fantastic history of cod and how it has shaped the world today.

What is your favourite film?
I lament the fact that they no longer make the old blockbusters such as Battle Of Britain and The Bridge On The River Kwai. I love those kinds of films, but I am a huge fan of Tarantino. I love his black humour.

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Your favourite record or piece of music?

The LP of The Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd.

Your favourite meal?
My mum’s shepherd’s pie.

Who would you like to come to dinner?
King Eric, Eric Cantona; Serge Blanco, the French rugby star; Escoffier, Napoléon, and Wellington.

What is the nastiest thing someone has said to you?
I’ve been called some pretty nasty things at school, as you can imagine with a name like Michel growing up in England. But I was a tough boy and held my own. Kids can be nasty.

Do you believe in aliens?
I believe there is life out there. But aliens as in little green men, no.

What is your secret vice?
I have very few. I gave up smoking 25 years ago and I drink moderately. I don’t like cheap chocolate. I’m not a keen fan of Westlife or anything like that. I love tinned peaches, tinned fruit.

Do you write thank-you notes?
Always. It’s the way I was brought up.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘Don’t be late’. Although if you ask my staff it might be something else.

What would improve the quality of your life?
If only the days were 36 hours long and there were eight days in the week. I don’t know why but it’s impossible to get everything done in a day.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I’m a little superstitious. I hate it when bread is upside down – any loaf of bread if it’s positioned upside down. It’s a Christian thing. It’s extremely disrespectful. It’s very French.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
‘At least he wasn’t late for that one’.

Michel Roux Jr and his father, Albert Roux OBE, are creating the menu for Chez Roux @ Blue Riband at the Investec Derby Festival, Epsom, on 5 and 6 June: www.epsomdowns.co.uk


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