Recipes to remember Albert Roux, OBE, Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur

The  Staff Canteen

Albert Roux, OBE and holder of the French Legion of Honour, will forever be remembered as having altered the course of british cuisine forever.

He and his late brother Michel were the first to receive a Michelin star (and then three) for a UK restaurant - first at Le Gavroche, then at The Waterside Inn.

They founded the Roux Scholarship and trained hundreds of highly-talented chefs - including Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Koffman, Marcus Wareing, and Marco Pierre White.

They passed on their love of food to their sons, Michel Jr. and Alain, and to their granddaughter, Emily.

They touched thousands more through his cooking, and Albert's work changed the lives of many children across the UK, with the Adopt a School nutrition programme he helped found.

Many more got a taste for Albert's ode to traditional  French cuisine at Roux at The Landau, Roux at Parliament Square and multiple Chez Roux restaurants. 

Fervently proud of French tradition, the brothers arranged a constant supply line from the Rungis vegetable market in Paris, which eventually resulted in a large business, provisioning restaurants throughout London to this day.

And for those who never made it to any of their restaurants, Albert and Michel entered public consciousness through TV appearances, and, you guessed it, their recipe books: New Classic Cuisine (1983), On Pâtisserie (1986), At Home with The Roux Brothers (1988), French Country Cooking (1989) and Cooking for Two (1992),

Below are some of the dishes and techniques Albert created and championed throughout his career.

We'd love to hear from you if any others spring to mind, whether you learned them from the chef, ate them at one of his restaurants or cooked it from one of his books - contact us on our social channels or in the comments section below. 

The Roux Brothers

Listed as one of the Guardian's Top 20 French recipes, the Roux Brothers' Mussels in Cider exemplifies everything Albert stood for when it came to food: simple, minimal fuss food using high quality (often French) ingredients. It featured in Albert and Michel's home cookery book, At Home with The Roux Brothers.

Moules Bretonnes, mussels cooked in cider

Teaching unexperienced cooks the fundamentals in 1987 was a tall order. In the below videos, Albert and Michel discuss all the ways of cooking eggs: scrambled, omelette, (deep) fried and poached - and of course, the all necessary mayonnaise and hollandaise sauces. Visit this YouTube channel for their take on fish, meat, souffles, ice creams and sorbets, puff pastries and brioches, shortcrust and choux pastry, vegetables and salad, poultry and game, stocks and soup.

"This is a Michelin star poached egg," Albert said in one clip. "You may say that a poached egg is a poached egg. Well, not in my school."

The Soufflé Suissesse

As many a classically-trained chef will agree on, championing sauces was an absolute must for The Roux brothers. Albert had his own sauce, consisting of horseradish, cream, bread, egg yolk and mustard, to be served with a Pot-au-Feu, which was on the menu at Le Gavroche from day 1.

But one of the most iconic dishes to Albert's name, which has been on the menu at Le Gavroche since 1967, and remains there to this day, is the Soufflé Suissesse.

The perfect marriage of French and British cheese, butter, eggs and cream in a light and airy but decadent dish, Michel Roux Jr told France Televisions that he daren't ever take it off the menu, as "even the British, who are quite docile, would be out on the streets. There would be a revolution!"

 Here is a link to a recipe, as well as a video of Michel Roux Jr preparing it below: 

Michel Roux Jr.

"I was hoping to get a son so good, so nice, who would grow up so beautifully - I'm afraid that has not been the case," he jested, in a video shot for GQ in celebration of the Father and Son Day fundraiser for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. "But I love him, I settled with him. It's painful but there you are. That's life, isn't it."

Toning down the humour when asked what he'd like to pass on to his son - aside from Le Gavroche, which he handed him the reins to in 1991, he said: "Nothing. He's so complete," adding: "I've been blessed by the Gods to have a son like him." 

When his turn came to sing his father's praises, Michel said: "My dad hasn't taught me every single thing I know about cooking, but he's certainly inspired me as a chef. 

The infamous Soufflé Suissesse

Sad as his death may be, we at The Staff Canteen believe that Albert Roux's legacy will live on forever, as, asked in a 2016 interview with The Good Food Guide, "What drives you on?,” he answered: “Wanting to train and help people. I get such happiness from training chefs. 'Making a racehorse out of a donkey’ as I say. I never give up on people.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th January 2021

Recipes to remember Albert Roux, OBE, Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur