French celebrity chef Michel Roux has died at the age of 79. Roux passed away on Wednesday at his home in Berkshire, England, according to his family.
His family confirmed his death in a statement that described the restaurateur as a “humble genius” imbued with an “insatiable appetite” for life.
Part of the statement released by his son, Alain, and daughters, Francine and Christine, on behalf of the family, read:
“It is with deep sadness that the Roux family announces the passing of our beloved grandfather, father, brother and uncle, Michel Roux OBE… A humble genius, legendary chef, popular author, and charismatic teacher… he was a father figure inspiring all with his insatiable appetite for life and irresistible enthusiasm…”
The Roux Scholarship’s Instagram account also released a statement on Wednesday.
Michel Roux cause of death
The cause of death was revealed to be a lung condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He battled with the condition for some years before his death.
Who was Chef Michel Roux?
Michel Roux was widely regarded as having played a significant influencing role in modern British gastronomy. He was known among his fans “as the godfather of modern cuisine.”
He co-founded Le Gavroche restaurant with his brother, Albert, at Lower Sloane Street in 1967.
Le Gavroche was the first U.K. restaurant to win a Michelin star in 1974. In 1982, Le Gravoche became the first restaurant in the U.K. to earn three Michelin stars.
Roux’s The Waterside Inn also won three Michelin stars.
Roux retired in 2002, handing the management of his business to his son Alain.
He regularly featured on multiple TV shows, including the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, the competitive cooking show Masterchef, and The Roux Legacy that focussed on the contributions of his family to British cooking.
He co-founded the Roux Scholarship with his brother Albert in 1984 to support aspiring chefs.
Through the scholarship, he organized a competition to help young chefs gain the opportunity of three months’ experience in a Michelin-starred European restaurant.
“The idea was that if somebody won a competition and became a Roux Scholar, it gave them enough credibility so the chefs in France would not be able to refuse them.”
Notable British chefs whose careers were launched through the Roux Scholarship program included Simon Hulstone, Andre Garrett, Andrew Fairlie, and Sat Bains.
He also mentored other well-known chefs, such as Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, and Pierre Koffman.