the roux, the whole roux and nothing …

15 Mar

Recently concluded on Good Food is The Roux Legacy, a ten part series focusing on the legends that are the Roux family.  For the first time all four chefs unite to cook their dishes, recount some amazing stories and generally bicker like most families do.

The subjects of this programme are fascinating, the overall feel of it however is quite dated with a synth soundtrack and the occasional VT wipe …. niiiiice.  [I have just been advised that the main music used is Marillion]

As someone not old enough to know, it was a revelation to be told the Roux story – opening Le Gavroche when the quality and availability of British food was, by all accounts, appalling in 1967.  Their one ray of sunshine was Billingsgate Market where they would buy all they could and advise the traders what types of fish they should be stocking.  They became known as Mickey and Albie and pretty much transformed the way markets and shops were run.  In more recent years M&S had regular access to the Roux kitchen and changed how their own fruit and vegetables were packaged – green beans, for example, were top and tailed and stored in small, plastic trays – something you often see presented this way these days.

A ridiculous number of high profile chefs have come through the Roux kitchen, either as an employee (Paul Rankin and Gordon Ramsay)  or as a scholar (Andrew Fairlie and Sat Baines) and all reveal what it means to be part of the Roux Family.  We are talking EastEnders levels of faaaaaaaamily here.  Those who set out on a new culinary journey many years before are still contacted to check all is OK.  After knowing Michel and Albert for a long time it’s nice to see James Martin (a scholar judge) so excited whenever they appear on Saturday Kitchen.

Once the Waterside Inn opened in Bray (1972) the brothers took on more and more work in opening restaurants, writing books and presenting their own television show.  In recent years Michel and Albert made way for their sons to take over – Michel Roux Jr took charge of Le Gavroche from Albert and Alain ran the Waterside Inn.

Could history repeat itself with the new generation of Roux cousins?  Well, give Paul a chance, he’s only a toddler (with his own chefs whites of course).  Emily Roux is certainly one to watch having trained at the Paul Bocuse School in Lyon, however we’re unlikely to see her take over at Le Gavroche – apparently the food is too rich and the decor out dated!  ‘Modern and clean’ were the buzz words as Emily tried not to be too down on the legendary food that her family painstakingly created.

This brings me to the recipe sections of the show, lovingly reproduced by the elder Rouxs 😉  Example;
M “Tell me when to stop pouring the custard mixture in these bowls …”
A ” … STOP!”
M “Thank you, and now I’ll -”
A “-STOP!”
M “Ah, yes, thank you for that Albert -”
A [in Michel’s ear] “STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

A nice touch was the discovery of Michel Jr’s nickname.  He is known in the Roux household as Mimi (cue look to camera, eye roll).  They are clearly a family who, whilst not physically, are very close and share a great amount of respect.  Marcus Wareing says Emily has the definite potential to be a bigger star than any of her family simply because she’s female.  I’m sure there’s a lot of talent too!  She will have her own show at some point so we can blog about her ’til our heart’s content.


One response to “the roux, the whole roux and nothing …

  1. takotsubo

    March 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Saw one of these, and it made me want to go to Le Gavroche, actually. I added it to my restaurant list (although to cross off everything on my restaurant list would require a couple of months, about twenty grand and a new liver).


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