My Life In Food: Michel Roux J
Friday 25 November 2011
Michel Roux Jr is the chef patron of Le Gavroche in London's Mayfair and presents MasterChef: The Professionals. His new range of Global Knives is on sale in Selfridges.
What are your most- and least-used pieces of kitchen kit?
My most-used piece of kitchen equipment is the mid-sized Global chopping knife. It's like an extension of my hand, it's so balanced and solid. My least-used piece of kit is a microwave. We have one at the restaurant for reheating the staff food, but don't use it for much else.
If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?
I'd go to Neal's Yard and get as much mature Stichelton as I could. I'm a great fan of Stichelton at this time of year. It seems a lot to spend on a little slice – which is probably what it would be – but you have to remember that cheese is one of those foods where, the more you pay, the better-quality stuff you get.
What do you eat for comfort?
I was apprenticed as a pâtisserie chef in Paris, so I'm fond of eating sweet food for a bit of comfort. Chocolate is a particular favourite. It has to be good stuff, though. I hate sugary, cheap chocolate. Ideally, it would be Amedei Chuao chocolate from Italy. It has a beautiful flavour and we use it for all our chocolate desserts in the restaurant.
If you could eat only bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
That's an impossible question. I don't think I could ever choose. I do enjoy bread, though. I make it almost daily – fruit bread, nut bread, wholemeal, the lot. Failing that, I buy Welsh Y Polyn sourdough. But I don't think I could live with just one – I want both.
What's your desert island recipe?
That's an easier one: garlic butter. It's such a versatile thing, you can use it on everything from grilled lobster to bread. First of all, you need to get hold of some best-quality butter. The best around is from Jersey at the moment, or Brittany. Then, in a separate bowl mix some grated garlic, finely chopped sweet shallots with some parsley and, my secret addition, a dash of pastis. Then mix it all together and you've got a delicious garlic butter.
What's your favourite restaurant?
My number one restaurant is El Celler de Can Roca, just outside Girona in Spain. It's run by the three Roca brothers. They have this wonderfully harmonious relationship – one looks after the wine, one the savoury food and another the sweet food. When I went early last summer I had grilled breast of lamb with tomato bread. I can still taste it now.
What's your favourite cookbook?
It's more of a culinary encyclopedia than a cookbook, but my favourite at the moment is Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine. It's split into five volumes and it takes you through all the latest cooking techniques and the science behind them. Fascinating.
Who taught you to cook?
My father and mother. I was fed the most beautiful food from such an early age. I learnt so much about flavour and taste that way. And we had this constant dialogue about what was good, what was in season, things like that. For a would-be chef, that is a wonderful thing.
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