The Roux brothers, Michel and Albert opened the award winning Le Gavroche in 1967, with driven passion to provide the highest quality of ingredients, cuisine and service. In 1982, their hard work paid off as the restaurant got labelled three stars by the Michelin guide and also the very first restaurant in Britain to do so.
Having such a huge success, many chefs approached Le Gavroche to start their training, Marco Pierre White was one of them, Gordon Ramsay was also one of them and last but not least Pierre Koffman as well. In Australia we have chefs that also trained under The roux brothers, Luke Mangan who trained under Michel Roux, Darren Simpson and Shannon Bennett under Albert Roux.
I was very privileged to be accepted by Albert Roux for an interview on his trip to Australia for the Sofitel Sydney Dining experience but because of the volcanic happenings, flights were unable to proceed. But instead, he and I organized an email interview and it was generous for him to do so. Thanks very much Mr Roux!
Me : You were born in France, what made you end up in Britain?
Albert : It was purely geographical, there was a job and I went for it.
Me : When and how did you know you wanted to become a chef? Who or what inspired you to cook?
Albert : From a tender age, I always watched my mother cooking. Her food was very simple but full of taste. My first choice, I wanted to be a priest but I changed my mind at the age of 14 and went for my second love which was cooking.
Me : What has been the most pleasure from working in the kitchen?
Albert : Training young girls and boys who are now stars.
Me : You son, Michel has been managing the kitchens behind the award winning Le Gavroche for many years, what are you thoughts about him running the restaurant?
Albert : I wish to god that I had a dozen like him! He is doing an absolutely fantastic job.
Me : You are a chef. Your brother, Michel is a chef. Your son, Michel Jr is a chef. You nephew, Alain is a chef. And now your grand-daughter, Emily is currently studying cooking as well, do you think this cooking tradition will pass down as the years go by?
Albert : Well, I hope it continues like that, but most important for the youngsters is to do what they love most in life. If it happens to be cooking, great!
Me : Your approach to cooking is classical French cuisine. Many chefs have turned their stoves to ‘labs’, inverting their cooking methods to Molecular Gastronomy. Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck Restaurant in one of them, what are your opinions to such cooking methods?
Albert : I greatly admire my good friend Heston but it is science which is not easy for other people to master.
Me : Do you have advice to give to anyone who wants to be a chef?
Albert : Start eating!
Me : If you could have one last meal, what would it be?
Albert : Fish and chips!
Me : Favourite ingredient and why?
Albert : Chervil, it has a soft and delicate taste, it is a member of the parsley family.
Me : Favourite menu to cook?
Albert : I love cooking vegetables.
Me : Winter is approaching Australia, have you got a recipe to share with us?
Albert : Yes, French onion soup.
Gratinee Normande – French Onion Soup –
Makes approximately 2.5 ltr of soup
( The cider gives a slightly mellower flavour and makes it more digestible )
1.2 kg brown onions
30 ml vegetable oil
1 very small bouquet garni
600ml sweet cider
2 ltr beef stock
100g of roux
salt and pepper
French Baguette, sliced 1cm thick and baked till crispy and golden
Gruyère cheese, Grate
Peel, wash and finely slice the onions, sweat them with the butter and oil until pale golden.
Add the bouquet garni, pour in cider and simmer for 5 minutes
Meanwhile, bring the beef stock to a boil and add the roux. Cook for 20 minutes skimming the surface frequently.
Stir the onions into the velouté and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir the bottom of the saucepan to make sure the onions do not catch.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, pour a tablespoon of cream and cider on the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the hot soup and top with the toasted bread and Gruyère. Place under hot grill until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Serve Piping hot.
43 Upper Brook Street,
Mayfair, London W1K 7QR
Albert Roux Consultancy
539 Wandsworth Road
London SW8 3JD
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