You do not need to be a ‘food person’ to know the name Roux. Or to be familiar with Le Gavroche, the family’s cherished Mayfair restaurant, soon to close after 57 years. They are a name and a restaurant that transcend beyond the world of Michelin stars. And this despite the fact the restaurant requires a considerably plump paycheck or a lot of saving up to become familiar with its riches.
Michel Roux – formerly Jr. – the son of the late Albert who founded Le Gavroche with his brother Michel Roux Sr. in 1967 – announced the restaurant’s closure late on Friday. The need for an improved ‘work-life balance’ was the primary cause. For a single restaurant closure to make global headlines is testament to its gravitas: here is a true institution, putting on tables the most precise and classic French cooking.
‘This decision has not been made lightly’, wrote Roux, now 63. ‘Le Gavroche means so much, not just to myself and the Roux family, but to the wider Gavroche team and our guests who have become family over so many years.
I’d like the restaurant to close on a high. It’s about turning the page and moving forward so I can focus on my family and other business ventures. This is not the end of Le Gavroche – the restaurant may be closing, but the name will live on, as will the Roux dynasty.’
Dynastic is true. Le Gavroche is a legacy restaurant, one where history has long been made and one synonymous with Britain’s feted culinary revolution. In 1974, it became the first in Britain to win a Michelin star. Sitting down to sample such then unlikely fancies as foie gras and pot au feu? Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin; countless more besides. After being the first to win two stars, in 1977, it became the first to win three, in 1984.