In memoriam: Albert Roux 1935-2021

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Albert Henri Roux OBE KFO, who died on 4th January 2021.

A leading light in the culinary world, Albert Roux inspired countless chefs through his restaurant kitchens and through the Roux Scholarship. He is credited, along with his late brother Michel, for starting Britain’s culinary revolution with the establishment of Le Gavroche in 1967.

His son Michel Roux Jr said the love of Albert’s life was to make people happy through his food. “He was a mentor for so many people in the hospitality industry and a real inspiration to budding chefs, including me.”

Albert was born on 8 October 1935 at Semur-en-Brionnais, in the region of Saône-et-Loire in France, the son of a charcutier and elder brother to Michel Roux OBE.

His first role in the kitchen was aged 18 as a commis de cuisine for Lady Nancy Astor, at Cliveden House in Berkshire, after which he moved up the culinary ladder and spent one year at the French Embassy in London, followed by his first role as head chef at the home of Sir Charles Clore in Belgravia.

After serving his Military Service in Algeria, during which time he was invited on occasion to cook for the Officers’ Mess, Albert took up a post as sous chef at the British Embassy in Paris where he spent two years before leaving for the UK once again for a role as chef to Major Peter Cazalet at his family estate at Fairlawne, in Tonbridge, Kent.

He stayed with the Cazalet family for eight happy years. It was the Cazalet family and many of their friends who encouraged and financially helped Albert to open his own restaurant. After his younger brother Michel joined him in the UK, they opened Le Gavroche in London’s Chelsea, in April 1967.

The brothers took turns in the kitchen and dining room and had one aim: to achieve a worldwide reputation for the quality of their cuisine and service. Serving a small and selective menu, with top-quality produce, they soon won fans, including Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In 1974, Le Gavroche then became the first restaurant in Britain to win a Michelin star. The second came in 1977 and the third in 1982 – it was the first restaurant in Britain to hold the accolade. The brothers opened The Waterside Inn in 1972, which won three Michelin stars in 1985.

In 1988, Albert’s son Michel Roux Jr joined Albert at Le Gavroche, taking the helm as Executive Chef in 1991 while Albert continued to develop his consultancy. For the Chez Roux Consultancy, Albert has used his lifetime work as a restauranteur, hotelier, retailer and whole-sale food manufacturer to help other reputable establishments in their aim to achieve the same high standards. The business has grown consistently and organically since the mid-1980s.

Among his many awards and accolades, Albert Roux was awarded an OBE in 2002, and the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2005.

Albert was a judge and co-chairman on the Roux Scholarship until 2016, when he and brother Michel handed the reins to their sons Michel Roux Jr and Alain Roux who took over chairmen. After this, he  supported the Roux Scholarship as Patron.