Renowned French chef and restaurateur Albert Roux has died at the age of 85, his family has announced.
The Roux family said the chef – who was famous for opening Le Gavroche in London with his late brother Michel Roux, who died last year – had been unwell for some time before he died on Monday.
Bringing Parisian-style fine dining to the capital for the first time in 1967, Le Gavroche became the first restaurant in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star – and broke records again in 1982 as the first to receive three, the ultimate accolade in the world of haute cuisine.
Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and Marcus Wareing are among the many famous chefs who earned their stripes in the Le Gavroche kitchen, under the tutelage of the Roux brothers.
Paying tribute in a statement on Instagram, Albert’s son, Michel Roux Jr, said his love of life and passion for making people happy through his food would be greatly missed.
“He was a mentor for so many people in the hospitality industry, and a real inspiration to budding chefs, including me,” he said.
Food critic Jay Rayner led the tributes on Twitter, saying: “Albert Roux was an extraordinary man, who left a massive mark on the food story of his adopted country.
“The roll call of chefs who went through the kitchens of Le Gavroche alone, is a significant slab of a part of modern UK restaurant culture. RIP.”
TV chef James Martin described Roux as “a true titan of the food scene in this country”, while The Michelin Guide paid tribute to “a father of the UK restaurant industry”.
Albert Roux OBE, along with his late brother Michel, was a father of the UK restaurant industry and his legacy will live on through the many chefs who passed through his kitchen. All of us at the Michelin Guide send our heartfelt condolences to the Roux family
— The MICHELIN Guide (@MichelinGuideUK) January 6, 2021
your brother and say thank you for everything. My thoughts to all the Roux family and friends
— James Martin (@jamesmartinchef) January 6, 2021
Animal rights charity PETA also paid tribute, praising the chef for taking a stand on foie gras, a food product made from the liver of a fattened duck or goose which is banned in several countries.
“This multi-Michelin-starred French chef helped many people see that foie gras is animal torture,” PETA said. “He famously said that like cigarettes, it should carry a warning about the hideous suffering of the ducks and geese abused for its production. We’ll never forget him.”
Albert Roux’s death comes 10 months after the death of his younger brother, Michel, in March 2020, at the age of 78.
As well as Le Gavroche, the entrepreneurial brothers set up The Roux Scholarship in 1984, helping British chefs to train in restaurants around the world. Previous scholars include the late Andrew Fairlie, Sat Bains and Frederick Forster.
Originally from the small town of Charolles in central France, the brothers arrived in London at a time when the British
capital was not known for sophisticated gastronomy.
At first, they took turns in the kitchen and dining room of Le Gavroche in Sloane Square in Chelsea, but the restaurant’s success meant they were soon able to hire others.
In 1972, the pair branched out, buying traditional country pub The Waterside Inn in the village of Bray, on the bank of the River Thames in Berkshire, and transforming it into a restaurant and cocktail bar.
In 1986, the brothers separated their business interests, with Michel and his son, Alain Roux, continuing to run the Waterside Inn, where Alain remains in charge.
Albert and Michel Roux Jr kept control of Le Gavroche, which is now based in Mayfair.