28.11.14

INTERVIEW with MICHEL ROUX JR

It's not every day you receive an email asking if you'd like to send some interview questions through for Michel Roux Jr, but that's exactly what happened last Friday, much to my surprise and excitement. I love the Rouxs as chefs and always have done. I watch little live TV - only Attenborough, football and cooking shows - but have always loved what I've seen of Michel Roux Jr on shows such as Masterchef and Food and Drink, which I have on catch up in the background on Saturday mornings when I'm cooking for my pop ups. I was asked to provide questions for this interview as Michel is fundraising for a really great charity that he is a patron of, VICTA - a charity that fundraises to provide support and activities for visually impaired and blind children - by trading from an initial budget of £2,500 with City Index and trying to make as much money as possible - as stressful as a day in the kitchen I'm sure, just not half as tasty! Michel is a long term supporter of VICTA and has run several marathons for the charity too. I've enjoyed reading Michel's answers to my questions so much, and I hope you do too - he really seems even lovelier than I already thought he was:

1. Who has inspired you the most in your career? 
My first boss when I was an apprentice pastry chef, he was a man that led by example and rarely shouted. He was the first person in, in the morning and the last one out at night. 

2. What is the first thing you remember cooking? 
The first thing I remember cooking wasn’t actually cooking it was making ice cream as a child. My father had made the custard and I must have been about six and had to churn it by hand as we didn’t have an electric machine. It was churned on ice and was a very hard job. I was rewarded with a scoop of freshly made ice cream. 

3. What is your favourite restaurant in London? 
My favourite local restaurant is The Dairy in South London. I think it would be wonderful if every local restaurant was like the dairy. It’s affordable, run by a husband and wife team, and has a real homely feel. It ticks all the boxes of what I look for in a restaurant. 

4. What is your can’t live without kitchen gadget?
At the moment this would be a pressure cooker, I think they’re back in fashion now, when you say pressure cooker you usually think of your granny or old cabbage but these days they really are state of the art. 

5. What are your top three can’t live without ingredients? 
These would have to be venison, truffles and chocolate. 

6. What is your newest ingredient discovery? 
A forgotten vegetable, cardoons. 

7. What is your worst food intolerance to cook for? 
Working in a restaurant you have to cook for lots of different intolerances, but the one I have the most sympathy for has to be gluten, as I really couldn’t give up bread, pasta or any wheat products. 

8. Why did you choose to fundraise for VICTA today? 
Visually Impaired Children Taking Action - I’ve run marathons for VICTA for 16-18 years now. It’s about taking blind or partially sighted children out-and-about and getting them involved in sporting activities. It’s a small charity and I believe the smaller the charity the more of the money actually goes to the cause. I’ve had over four operations on my eyes myself and they really do deserve a little bit of help.
(I'm completely with Michel here with regards donating to smaller charities as I also believe that more money gets to those who need it this way) 

9. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start a career as a Chef? 
The advice I would give is for someone in a job or apprenticeship to take notes - not necessarily recipes but just little notes as you go along, in the form of a little diary. I still look back at my notes I made when I was apprentice and it really is an inspiration to look back and to learn.
(This is such a nice answer from Michel. So many chefs answer this question with "don't become a chef" which is really unhelpful for those who've already decided that they do want to be a chef!) 

Such interesting answers! The first thing I did when I read them was look up cardoons - it's a vegetable known as the artichoke thistle, and both the stalks and leaves can be eaten, and have an artichoke flavour to them - something to consider for my pop up menus!

There was one question on my list I'd sent through that Will didn't have time to ask for me, which was what Michel thought of supper clubs, and would he like to come to mine one day?! So if you're reading this Michel, why don't you come and try it out?!?
 
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21 comments

  1. Wow, what an amazing opportunity, I love his 'can't live without' ingredients! And it would be so awesome if he came to one of your supper clubs!

    C x
    Lux Life Blog

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    1. It would be so amazing if he came to a pop up but I think the nerves would get the better of me if I knew he was coming!! I had a top food writer come to one of my first pop ups and that was scary enough! Love his ingredient choices too :)

      Rosie xx

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  2. This is fantastic! I love his work too, it's great that you got to ask those questions! I found it very interesting :)

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  3. How fab! gosh can you image having him as your guest at one of your pop-ups? Oh the nerves! I love his choice of kitchen gadget : pressure cooker, every household in Brazil has one. I love mine! x

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    1. I'd be a nervous wreck if he came to a pop up, but a very, very happy one too!

      R xx

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  4. How interesting and what a great opportunity! Awesome interview, well done!
    Cx
    www.cocktailsandcaroline.com

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    1. Thanks Caroline! I was so excited to be able to ask him some questions :)

      R xx

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  5. I love Michel Roux Junior, he seems like such a nice guy. Great questions from you and answers from him.

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    1. He genuinely seems like the loveliest guy :)

      R xx

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  6. Great interview. He is so talented, I love watching him in Masterchef.

    Anca @ ancaslifestyle | UK

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    1. Thanks Anca!! He's fab on tv, my favourite tv chef probably

      R xx

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  7. Wow! The Dairy has swiftly moved to the top of my bucket list!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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    1. It's been on my list for a while - it had great reviews when it first opened, but I still haven't made it, though definitely going to try it soon :)

      R xx

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  8. Wow! The Dairy has swiftly moved to the top of my bucket list!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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  9. Wonderful! Michel is a truly great supporter for our little charity. Thank you Michel and thank you too Rosie for posting this. Tracie Tappenden, CE VICTA

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    1. My pleasure Tracie - you guys do amazing work :)

      Rosie xx

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  10. Fantastic opportunity! Next time maybe it will be face-to-face. I met him once at a food show and got him to sign my/his cookbook. Seemed ever so nice. Well done you! A x

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    1. He seems really nice, I'd love to actually meet him! I know someone who got to spend a whole day cooking with him recently, lucky them!!

      Rosie xx

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  11. I am so jealous you got to interview Michel Roux Junior! I also can't believe the Dairy is one of his favourite places to eat. I've only been there for cocktails before because we didn't think the menu looked that great.

    Fabulous questions lovely!

    Katie <3

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    1. Thanks Katie! I've read great reviews about The Dairy so definitely want to try it out soon, especially now Michel's recommended it!!

      Rosie xx

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