Michel Roux Jnr, the three Michelin star chef, gave an inspiring talk to students and staff from Uxbridge College and Chartwells.World renowned chef Michel Roux Jnr gave a special presentation to catering and hospitality trainees at Uxbridge College.The three Michelin star chef whose recent BBC2 programme Michel Roux’s Service attracted more than 2m viewers, talked about his life and took
World renowned chef Michel Roux Jnr gave a special presentation to catering and hospitality trainees at Uxbridge College.
The three Michelin star chef whose recent BBC2 programme Michel Roux’s Service attracted more than 2m viewers, talked about his life and took questions from catering students William Baker, Maria-Claire Drake and Jason Allison and others.
The audience listened enthralled to tales of his apprenticeship in Paris, taking over Le Gavroche from his father Albert Roux and uncle Michel Roux, and more recently his television work, including MasterChef: The Professionals.
The visit was organised by Uxbridge College’s caterers Chartwells, part of Compass Group plc. Chefs from Chartwells also gave a live cooking demo, creating classic French dishes using mussels and frogs’ legs.
James Orford, Section Manager for Catering & Hospitality at Uxbridge College, said: “We feel really privileged to have had Michel Roux Jnr as a visitor to Uxbridge College – we were all spellbound hearing what he had to say.
“Our professional catering students learned so much from him, including great tips on everything from how not to cook a kangaroo’s tail to how to succeed in industry.
“Michel’s visit has proved a real inspiration to staff and students alike and we are very grateful to our caterers Chartwells for making it possible.”
Janet Wigley, Regional Manager from Chartwells, said: “It was absolutely fantastic to host Michel Roux Jnr at Uxbridge College and a delight to see the looks of awe on the faces of student and staff during his hour-long talk. We hope he enjoyed inspiring the audience as much as we enjoyed listening to him - and I know we all left motivated to do better and achieve our own greatness.”
Michel Roux Jnr on…
“It’s a very tough industry, but you can achieve greatness. What is achieving greatness? Is it achieving three Michelin stars? Is it being the next Jamie Oliver? Ultimately, I would say it is your own personal satisfaction of what you are doing, whether you are cooking some chuck steak for school children or at a college, or whether you’re grilling the finest piece of Angus steak in one of the palaces of the world. You could be working in a café but the service that you’re giving is as good as in a fine dining establishment.”
Tips for trainees
“CVs should be two pages or less. The ones which catch my eye are short, concise and to-the-point. If you want to go to the top places, you must send in your CV early. Persevere and keep knocking on those doors.
“Succeeding is perhaps down to dedication and focus and don’t be afraid to maybe change direction - if you’re not achieving what you want to achieve in one direction, change tack and reassess your goals.”
The importance of great service
“Being a chef is not the be all and end all. We all know chefs have been put on a pedestal, but as a paying customer I know that if the food is great and the service is bad I won’t return. If the food is mediocre and the service is great, I will return.”
Asked what he would do if poor punctuality was ever an issue at Uxbridge College, he harked back to his experience as an apprentice of working all night to prepare 25kg of raw almonds as a punishment for being late once too often.
“If someone kept being late, I would maybe find out why the lateness - is there a problem with the trainee staying out too late with his mates, or are they having a family problem? Ultimately why not get that bag of almonds out?!”
Too much fine food
“You always crave a simple dish like a bacon sandwich. You can’t beat a bacon sandwich.”
The importance of apprentice training
“We now have three apprentices in the restaurant - over the last four or five years we have had a huge demand from people wanting to be apprentices. I have invested my time in teaching and inspiring apprentices and youngsters in this industry.”
The worst ingredient ever cooked with
A kangaroo’s tail.
The most expensive ingredient (never cooked with)
The spice saffron, from Norfolk, £30,000 a kilo.