Thursday, 25 October 2012
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: MICHEL ROUX SNR
MICHEL ROUX SNR is a French-born chef and restaurateur. He opened his first restaurant, Le Gavroche in London, with his brother Albert in 1967, and later The Waterside Inn at Bray, which has held three Michelin stars for more than 25 years.What are you working on at the moment?
I am busy preparing for the opening of the new Roux restaurant at the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in Vietnam. It is called La Maison 1888 and will be opening in December.
When were you at your happiest?
I was happiest during the period from 1967 to the 1980s, when my brother, Albert, and I opened our first restaurant, Le Gavroche, and then The Waterside Inn. The two of us realised our dream and worked alongside each other as a team.
What is your greatest fear?
The disappearance of our artisans and craftsmen, who often carry skills and knowledge that have been passed down through many family generations.
What is your earliest memory?
It is the smell of pâté, sausages and delicious foods permeating our family apartment from the charcuterie shop below, which was owned by my father and grandfather.
Who has been your greatest influence?
Cécile de Rothschild. I worked for her in Paris as head chef for six years. I left school at 14, but feel I had a university
education working under Cécile de Rothschild, a woman of peerless and exquisite taste. I learned so much about art, wine, travel, costing and planning menus; it was a fantastic, life-changing experience.
What do you most dislike about yourself?
Well, I admit I am a workaholic, but I never get bored.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possessions are my mother's belongings, mainly photographs, books and personal items.
What trait do you most deplore in others?
The lack of decision, indecisiveness.
Do you have a fantasy address?
I would love to live at the top of the mountain I can see from my window at home in Switzerland. My fantasy address would be up there, where it is peaceful and beautiful.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I would rather tell you about what I do like.
What is your all time favourite book?
It would be anything by Antonin Carême – any of his wonderful books written in the 1800s about cookery and food.
What is your favourite film?
Your favourite record or piece of music?
The soundtrack from Chariots Of Fire.
Your favourite meal?
Free-range roast chicken.
Who would you most like to come to dinner?
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Which historical character do you most admire?
What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
Nastiest thing anyone ever said to me? I wish to remember only the good things and look forward to tomorrow.
Do you believe in aliens?
What is your secret vice?
I can't resist a Double Chocolate Magnum when I stop to buy petrol.
Do you write thank-you notes?
I don't send these often enough. I tend to call and speak personally.
Which phrase do you most overuse?
Close enough is never good enough.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
To slow down... just a little.
What would you like your epitaph to say?
That's all for now!
Michel Roux: The Collection is published by Quadrille, priced £25.
Daily tip from the lady archive
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Q: The Queen has received a £5m boost in the funds she receives from the taxpayer to carry out her official duties. Do you approve?
Yes - the Queen does a great job and is well worth it - 59.5%
No - the UK economy is struggling and this is unfair - 40.5%