by Idil Serce
Michel Roux Junior is the well-known chef-patron of ‘Le Gavroche’, which he took over from his father and uncle in 1991. Since taking over and running the family business, Michel’s influence on the restaurant has been undeniable and ‘Le Gavroche’ is the only French restaurant in the UK to have been awarded two Michelin stars.
Michel’s success is not only limited to food, he has also made a presence in the television industry and made several appearances as a TV chef and presenter.
Despite Michel’s high profile, he is down to earth, approachable and interested. He greeted me on the steps of the restaurant with a wide smile and warm handshake, allowing me to relax and enjoy the moment of meeting one of the world’s greatest chefs. He was keen to learn about my story and those of the other Young Ambassadors and our work for VICTA on the new e-newsletter STRiVE. It is quite clear that Michel does not let his busy professional life stop him from supporting young individuals who are fighting with sight loss. Since experiencing a retinal detachment, he has been a keen supporter of charities that go above and beyond to support young individuals with a visual impairment. This is what first drew him to our charity, VICTA.
Interested in running the London Marathon Michel saw a small notice in the paper from a charity supporting VI children, advertising marathon places. That charity was VICTA and calling the phone number, Michel was introduced to VICTA founder John Brookes. The pair hit it off and spoke easily for an hour, cementing an instant connection. John Brookes was passionate and dedicated and this was infectious! The relationship grew and Michel Roux Jr became the charity’s Patron. It was wonderful to hear first-hand how his fondness and connection to our charity began.
As a keen runner, Michel has now undertaken the London Marathon several times on behalf of VICTA, raising significant funds for us in the process. His support does not stop there. Every year, Michel offers VICTA a table for six of our young adults to enjoy the experience of a lifetime and indulge themselves in fine-dining at his London restaurant ‘Le Gavroche’. This year, VICTA’s Young Ambassadors enjoyed Michel’s hospitality in recognition for their hard work in the pre-development of STRiVE, our e-newsletter.
We were all truly lucky to have had the opportunity to meet Michel and to be spoilt by all of his wonderful staff. Michel took the time to listen to each of our stories regarding our sight, ambitions and interests. We chatted about everything from his famous culinary lineage to our favourite flavours of ice cream.
We enjoyed a six course meal in the resplendent luxury of Michel’s personal Chef’s Library. And as Michel’s special guest for the day, we were given a tour of the kitchen and talked through the menu, wines and our surroundings.
Le Gavroche, was founded by Michel’s his father 50 years ago, and since taking over in 1991 Michel Roux Jr’s food has taken on its own style – classic French with a lighter, modern twist. Everything we ate and drank reflected this and was cooked to perfection.
The attention to detail from the beautifully designed plates to the uniquely designed cutlery and exceptional service made it such a special gastronomic experience that we all will remember for a long time. We were delighted to receive a parting gift of a personally signed menu and a silver key ring in the shape of the restaurant’s mascot ‘Le Gavroche’ a design inspired from the ‘street urchin character’ in Les Miserables.
On behalf of all of the VICTA Young Ambassadors, l would like to thank Michel Roux Jr for inviting us to his restaurant, greeting us like old friends and treating us to some of the best food I have ever eaten. A truly wonderful day.
Written by Idil Serce