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Issue 89 - Ruling the world

Whisky Magazine Issue 89
July 2010


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Ruling the world

Albert Roux is one of the world's greatest chefs, and he has a fondness for whisky. Gavin D. Smith reports.

Albert Roux has been described as the Godfather of modern restaurant cuisine and a veritable Who's Who of high profile chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Koffman, Marcus Wareing and Marco Pierre White, have worked in his kitchens.

Now 75 years old, and walking with the aid of a stick, Roux comes across as more of a ‘godfather' figure than a ‘Godfather' in the Sicilian sense; he has undoubted presence, is still unquestionably energetic, passionate and committed, but filled with Gallic charm, warmth and a mischievous sense of humour.

The son of a pork farmer from Semur-en-Brionnais in Burgundy, Roux began to train for the priesthood at an early age, but chose instead to pursue a career as a chef, initially becoming an apprentice patissier. “I think I would have made a very bad priest,” he declares with a chuckle.

His love affair with Britain began in 1952 when he obtained a job working for Lady Nancy Astor at her Cliveden country house.

A string of prestigious private engagements followed, before Roux and his brother, Michel, took the courageous step of opening Le Gavroche restaurant in London's Mayfair. It became the first establishment in England to be awarded three Michelin stars and enjoyed the distinction of being the late Queen Mother's favourite restaurant.

More than four decades after its debut, Le Gavroche is still thriving, but Roux – decorated with an OBE and the Legion d'Honneur – has developed many other projects, with the Albert Roux Consultan...

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