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Albert Roux, chef who revolutionized London’s restaurant scene, dead at 85

Chef and restaurateur Albert Roux, founder of Britain’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gavroche, died on Monday following a lengthy illness, his family said in a statement. He was 85 years old.

“The Roux family has announced the sad passing of Albert Roux, OBE, KFO, who had been unwell for a while, at the age 85 on 4th January 2021,” the statement reads.

“Albert is credited, along with his late brother Michel Roux, with starting London’s culinary revolution with the opening of Le Gavroche in 1967,” the family added.

Le Gavroche became Britain’s first Michelin-starred restaurant and some of the UK’s best-known chefs worked in its kitchen, including Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White.

Born in France in 1935, Roux moved to the UK at the age of 18, and spent years moving up the culinary ladder, working in the French Embassy and various high-end households.

After completing his military service in Algeria and stints working as a chef in Paris and again in the UK, Roux opened Le Gavroche, in Chelsea, London, which was later awarded three Michelin stars — as did Roux’s Waterside Inn, opened in 1972.

“He was a mentor for so many people in the hospitality industry, and a real inspiration to budding chefs, including me,” Roux’s son, chef and TV personality Michel Roux Jr., said in a statement.

Restaurant critic Jay Rayner was among those to pay tribute to the restaurateur and chef, writing on Twitter: “Albert Roux was an extraordinary man, who left a massive mark on the food story of his adopted country. The roll call of chefs who went through the kitchens of Le Gavroche alone, is a significant slab of a part of modern UK restaurant culture. RIP.”

Gordon Ramsay expressed his sadness at Roux’s death paying tribute on Instagram to a “legend, the man who installed Gastronomy in Britain.”

“We’ve shared the same office for the last decade and walking up those stairs today is going to be really difficult, thank you Albert for everything you gave me, God Bless you Chef,” he added.

Chef James Martin paid tribute to Roux, whom he described as “a true titan of the food scene in this country,” who “inspired and trained some of the best and biggest names in the business.”

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