Our Patron - Michel Roux
As a leading exponents of high quality food, Kent Farmers' Market Association is delighted to have Michel Roux Jr as our Patron. It is all the more apt as he is a local boy ! Born in Shipbourne in 1960 he spent his early years there, where Albert, his father, was the private chef for the Cazalet family, owners of the Fairlawne Estate. 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. His military service was spent in the kitchens at the Elysée Palace at the time of Presidents Giscard d’Estaing and François Mitterrand.
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 Parliament Square' in May 2010, with Restaurant Associates, part of the Compass Group UK and Ireland and then 'Roux at The Landau' at London’s prestigious luxury hotel, The Langham.
Michel has been a judge and presenter on the BBC’s popular prime time show, MasterChef: The Professionals, and was a presenter on all three series of ‘Great British Food Revival.’ He also fronted BBC2’s Food and Drink,’ and presented a documentary on Escoffier, whose revolutionary approach to fine cuisine has inspired Michel and many others.
In his new series 'Michel Roux’s French Country Cooking', we meet a variety of local farmers who live and work nearby, grow fruit and vegetables, make wine as well as different types of cheese. "There’s a lot of sunshine in that region and like everywhere in France, they grow and produce what does well in that area. Food is heritage in France; it’s hundreds of years of recipes being passed down that make the food special.”
Michel is a keen sportsman and he ran his nineteenth marathon in 2013, to raise funds for VICTA a charity supporting visually impaired children. He is also an honorary member of the Harlequins rugby club.