Michel Roux Jr was born in 1960 in Pembury, Kent, where his father Albert Roux worked as a private chef for the Cazalet family. His earliest food memories are the smells of the Fairlawne kitchen – pastry, sugar caramelizing and stews – where he played under the table while his father and mother Monique prepared the meals.
After deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps, he left school at 16 for the first of several challenging apprenticeships at Maître Patissier, Hellegouarche in Paris from 1976 to 1979. He was then Commis de Cuisine at Alain Chapel’s signature restaurant at Mionay near Lyon, Michel’s biggest influence. His military service was spent in the kitchens at the Elysée Palace at the time of Presidents Giscard d’Estaing and François Mitterrand. He also spent time at Boucherie Lamartine and Charcuterie Mothu in Paris, and the Gavers Restaurant in London.
After a stint at the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong he returned to London and worked at La Tante Claire before joining the family business. He took over running Le Gavroche in 1991, gradually changing the style of cooking to his own – classic French with a lighter, modern twist.
Michel opened Roux at Parliament Square in May 2010 with Restaurant Associates, part of the Compass Group UK and Ireland. And in November 2010, he opened Roux at The Landau at London’s prestigious luxury hotel, The Langham.
Michel was a judge and presenter on the BBC’s popular prime time show, MasterChef: The Professionals, and presented all series of ‘Great British Food Revival.’ Michel fronted BBC2’s ‘Food and Drink,’ in 2014 and presented a documentary on Escoffier, whose revolutionary approach to fine cuisine has inspired Michel and many others. In the same year, Michel went on a journey to create the perfect chocolate for the Le Gavroche Kitchen. Filmed by the BBC, in Paris he discovered chocolatiers, Cacao Barry and their Or Noir Lab.
In 2013, Michel launched his most recent cookbook, ‘The French Kitchen’. Focusing on traditional French home cooking, this is the fifth solo cookery book from Michel.
He is involved with the Roux Experience courses at the ‘Cactus Kitchens’ cookery school. Cactus Kitchens offers people the opportunity to learn to cook within small intimate groups from some of the UK’s finest chefs.
Michel has fronted a brand new four-part Channel 4 series, ‘The Diner’, exploring the hurdles faced by people with disabilities and mental health issues when finding employment. Michel also recently presented a new program on his first ever project with the Disney Channel. ‘First Class Chefs’ which launched in June 2015, is a show where kids aged 9-11 compete to showcase their restaurant skills.
Michel is a keen sportsman and he ran his nineteenth marathon in 2014, to raise funds for VICTA, a charity supporting visually impaired children. He is also an honorary member of the Harlequins rugby club.