Michel and Alain Roux

21 September 2006
Michel and Alain Roux

Overall ranking: 63

Chef ranking: 13

Michel and Alain Roux - Snapshot
Michel and his brother Albert are viewed as the godfathers of modern restaurant cuisine in the UK. They put Britain on the culinary map; raised standards across the board through their ground-breaking Michelin-starred restaurants, TV series, and many books; and trained and encouraged many of today's top chefs.

Michel's son Alain is joint chef patron of the three-Michelin starred Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire. The father-and-son team also owns the White Hart Inn near Colchester in Essex, which is run by ex-Waterside staff.

Michel and Alain Roux - Career guide

In 1967, the Roux brothers opened Le Gavroche in London's Lower Sloane Street (moving it to Upper Brook Street in 1981). In 1982 it became the first UK restaurant to hold three Michelin stars.

The Waterside Inn opened in the Berkshire village of Bray in 1972. It gained its third Michelin star in 1985 and has held onto this accolade longer than any other UK restaurant.

In 1972 the brothers started a catering service that was bought by Compass in 1993 to become Roux Fine Dining, with Albert as a consultant.

Between 1969 and 1996 Roux Restaurants opened a number of restaurants and brasseries in London - including Poulbot Pub, Le Gamin, Gavvers, Les Trois Plats, and Roux Britannia - which the brothers sold to focus on their consultancy work.

In 1986 the brothers separated their businesses, with Michel taking on the Waterside Inn and Albert retaining Le Gavroche.

Alain began an eight-year training programme abroad as an apprentice in the Patisserie Millet in Paris in 1984 before rising through the ranks in several Michelin-star restaurants in France that belonged to the exclusive Relais & Chateau group -Restaurant Pic, Le Domaine d'Orvault, La Bonne Etape,Chateau de Montreuil and La Cote Saint-Jacques.

He rejoined his father in 1992 at the Waterside Inn as demi-chef de partie.

Michel and Alain Roux - What we think Michel and Albert Roux were voted the UK's most influential chefs by their peers in a 2003 Caterer and Hotelkeeper survey and their profound impact on food and cooking in this country has not been lost on the British Government.

Awarding the brothers honorary OBEs in 2002, Foreign Minister Jack Straw described them as: "two of Britain's finest ambassadors who together have greatly enhanced Britain's gastronomic standing in the world … Thirty years ago just the phrase 'British cuisine' would have led to a belly laugh. That we can now talk proudly of 'British cuisine' owes a huge amount to the outstanding work of the Roux brothers."

The brothers arrived in Britain in the 1970s as hardcore French professionals in an era of enthusiastic amateurs. In the 1980s, they pioneered the use of quality ingredients by freighting in produce from the Rungis market in Paris.

Michel has won countless awards in Britain and in France, including three Catey's - the 1984 Menu of the Year (for the Waterside Inn) award; Independent Restaurateur of the Year (1985); and the 1995 Lifetime Achievement Award. The brothers also scooped the Craft Guild of Chefs Special award in 2005.

Michel has held one of the top culinary awards - the Meilleur Ouvrier de France en PÁ¢tissier - since 1976 and was decorated with the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 2004.

Perhaps the brothers' most lasting legacy has been the countless young chefs they have trained and nurtured, including such luminaries as Pierre Koffman, Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. In 2004, when Michel was voted the AA Chef's Chef, he calculated that he had trained more than 1,000 people over the past 35 years.

In 1984 they set up the Roux Brothers Scholarship, in which 50 young chefs compete annually to win three months' experience in any UK or European three Michelin-starred restaurant of their choice.

Michel bought the White Hart Inn near Colchester in 1995 and has acted as a consultant to British Airways from 1983 to 2003, and to the nine-strong Celebrity Cruises group since 1990.

Alain, meanwhile, has worked his way through the ranks at the Waterside Inn, rising from demi-chef de partie to sous chef (1995) and finally to joint chef-patron in 2000.

Alain now runs the Waterside Inn kitchens and has maintained the standards set by his father. In 2006 the Waterside Inn celebrated its 21st year as a three Michelin-star holder.

Alain is a Master Patisier in the International Association Relais Desserts, where he rubs shoulders with some of the best pastry chefs in the world. .

The Waterside Inn has been extended over the years, with eight guestrooms added in the 1990s, a suite at a later date, and a second suite and apartment in 2006.

Michel and Alain Roux - Further information

The Waterside Inn official websiteRead more about the CatererSearch 100, the list of the most influential people here

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