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OUR TASTE OF TAKUMI AMBASSADORS

Michel Roux Jr

Takumi Ambassadors

One of Britain’s most celebrated chefs, Michel Roux Jr. has a deep respect for classical French cuisine that’s balanced by his deep love for his family. We recently caught up to discuss what he cooks when he isn’t at ‘Le Gavroche’, how he relates to the Principles of Takumi, and how excited he is to eat at his daughter’s restaurant.

INTERVIEW WITH MICHEL ROUX JR

"It is incredibly comfortable and a joy to drive. You can actually see the elegance, and understand the thought that has gone into the car’s design."

GNOCCHI & WILD MUSHROOM GRATIN

This particular type of gnocchi is made with choux pastry and is called ‘à la Parisienne’. I used to make a dish similar to this when I worked as an apprentice in Paris. It’s now a favourite in the Roux household as it’s easy and fun to make.

1. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF YOUR TRAINING – WHICH TECHNIQUE WAS HARDEST TO MASTER?

MICHEL: I think probably puff pastry. At 16 years old, I did two years of working as a pastry chef, learning to get the layers perfect so that every one had butter evenly spread. And then, after three or four hours, once you've made the pastry, you then cut a piece, cook it and when it rises evenly you can say, ‘yes!’ It took me years to get that right, you've got to keep at it, keep at it, keep at it. And never, never give up.

2. WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF TAKUMI AND TAKUMI MASTERY?

MICHEL: I think it's an eye for perfection for sure. And, gosh, it's almost never being 100 percent satisfied with what you've done. You're always pushing for a little bit more. That little bit extra. It’s like my puff pastry because it's nonstop. When you roll out puff pastry, every layer has to be perfect rectangle – if it's a couple of millimetres out, it's not going to work. And I think that really encapsulates what perfection, and Takumi, is.

3. WHAT DISH DO YOU LIKE TO COOK AT HOME?

MICHEL: Very eclectic. People think it's very extravagant cooking at home, because I’m Michel Roux. No, no, no, not at all. I mean, I'm going to be sitting down to a bowl of butternut squash soup after this chat, which I made this morning. Nothing extravagant. Good quality ingredients, but not messed about too much.

4. WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE WATCHING YOUR DAUGHTER PROGRESS AS A CHEF?

MICHEL: My daughter always said she wanted to be a chef, from a very, very young age. And I embraced that. My wife said ‘Oh God, no. Look at Daddy. He's grumpy. He smells of the kitchen, and he works too hard. Do you want to do that?’ And she said ‘Yes, I do that's what I want to do.’

And now I'm so proud of her and Diego, and what they have achieved with their restaurant, ‘Caractere’. They've been open nearly a year and a half, and have a huge following of locals who come in and enjoy their food and their hospitality. It's a beautiful restaurant with a wonderful buzz and feel to it. When lockdown is over, and they can open up the doors again, I think I might be the first one to have lunch there because it's an amazing place.

 

5. WHAT PART OF DRIVING YOUR LEXUS DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST?

MICHEL: Whether I am stuck in traffic, or whether I'm heading to south of France on an eight-hour drive, it is incredibly comfortable and a joy to drive. You can actually see the elegance, and understand the thought that has gone into the car’s design.

“PEOPLE ARE RECONNECTING WITH INGREDIENTS, WITH SEASONS, WITH LOCAL INGREDIENTS, LOCAL PRODUCERS. AND I THINK THAT'S GREAT.”

- Michel Roux Jr, Takumi Ambassador