What to serve when the finest chefs in Britain come for dinner

Waterside Inn celebrates Michelin success with 25-course meal for culinary royalty

When Heston blumenthal, Raymond Blanc, Angela Hartnett, and dozens of other top chefs come to dinner, what do you cook? How about the turbot in chicken crust with sage, or the scallops with peanut sauce – or the snail flan?

If you are celebrating running the most successful restaurant in British history and serving the country's best chefs, there is no need to choose. Last night, Michel and Alain Roux served 25 dishes – including the three above – along with some of the finest champagne and claret in the world at the most extraordinary culinary gathering witnessed in a British restaurant.

The occasion was the family's 25th successive annual award of three Michelin stars to the Waterside Inn, the £150-a-head restaurant in the Thames-side village of Bray in Berkshire, which has maintained the highest standard of traditional haute cuisine for decades.

Winning a Michelin star is an accolade for which many chefs sweat in vain; Britain has only four three-star establishments. So when the Rouxs, father and son, came to wonder how they would celebrate 25 years at the top, they hit upon a twist to the usual practice of inviting the owners of the world's other three-star Michelin restaurants to a banquet. Instead, they invited the 140 UK chefs in possession of a Michelin star.

"We invited them all," recalled Michel Roux, 69, whose son Alain runs the restaurant day-to-day. "We were surprised. I was expecting about 60 or 70 or 80 of them to say yes, because not everyone can take a day off from the kitchens, but we have 116 of them, which is a huge compliment."

He went on: "I wanted to share it with the one, two and three-star chefs from the UK and not the three-star club from all over the world. There will be a lot of people with one star who are 25 to 35 years old – and they are the future of the UK."

On the guest list were some of the best known faces in British cooking, among them six who have recently had their own TV series – Blumenthal, who runs the neighbouring Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, fellow Frenchman Blanc, Hartnett, Tom Aikens, Marcus Wareing and John Burton Race.

Gordon Ramsay, who recounted his early days under the strict regime run by Michel's brother Albert Roux in his autobiography, sent his head chef Clare Smyth in his place. Other Roux proteges, including Pierre Koffman and Andrew Fairlie, who went on to run their own multi-Michelin starred establishments, were only too pleased to accept. Jean-Luc Naret, head of the global Michelin organisation, Gary Rhodes and the wine writer Jancis Robinson were among other guests.

On the menu was "myriade de canapes", followed by 25 courses – one for each year of the brothers' gastronomic excellence. 1985 was represented by Flan d'escargots en habit vert (snail flan with a green sauce) and 1995 by Canard aux clous de girofle et au miel (duck with wild mushrooms and honey.) This year was Terrine de foie gras et pintadeau truffé (foie gras terrine and truffled guinea fowl).

The classic French influence, heavy on sauces and seafood, was unsurprising given the Roux's roots at Le Gavroche in London, the two-star place now run by Michel Roux Junior, the son of Michel's brother Albert.

Courtesy of the Waterside Inn's suppliers, the wine list started with vintage champagne and became progressively heavier with white burgundy, red burgundies, clarets and a sauterne dessert wine, a 1986 Château d'Yquem. Twenty-four chefs prepared the food in the kitchen, which was open to inspection by the guests.

When asked what changes he had witnessed in British dining over the past 25 years, Mr Roux said: "It's not a change – it's a revolution. The young British chefs love cooking now. Before they were looking at cooking as a job for people who were thick or stupid.

"But it takes two to tango: now the public likes great food too. The public has found out that British food is a great thing. All that has happened in the past 30 years. Forty years ago it was the dark ages. You would not have found a person talking about food."

"It's a way of life," he added, explaining how he had kept three stars for so long. "I like things to be done well, very well. I'm a great believer that it doesn't take much longer to do something well than poorly – and it gives much greater satisfaction."

Who's invited: Chefs on the Roux brothers' guest list

1 star

The Harwood Arms, Stephen Williams

The Walnut Tree Inn, Shaun Hill

Summer Isles, Chris Firth-Bernard

The Cliff House Hotel, Martijn Kajuiter

The Latymer (Penny Hill Park), Michael Wignall

Deanes, Michael Deane

Zafferano, Enzo Cassini (manager)

Nahm, Matthew Albert

The Pipe & Glass Inn, James Mackenzie

The West House, Graham Garrett

Fraiche, Marc Wilkinson

Simpsons, Andreas Antona

Turner's, Richard Turner

Burlington Restaurant (The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey), Steve Smith

Lords of the Manor, Matt Wheedon

The Royal Oak, Dominic Chapman

Casamia Peter & Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias The Goose, Ryan Simpson

The Terrace (The Montagu Arms Hotel), Matt Tomkinson

Chapter One (Bromley), Andre McLeish

Tom Aikens, Tom Aikens

West Stoke House, Darren Brown

The Park (Lucknam), Hywel Jones

The Bybrook (The Manor House Hotel & Golf Club), Richard Davies

Rhodes Twenty Four, Adam Gray

Club Gascon, Pascal Aussignac

Tyddyn Llan, Bryan Webb

Apicus, Tim Johnson

Ockenden Manor, Stephen Crane

The New Angel, John Burton-Race

Sienna, Russell Brown

Thornton's, Kevin Thornton

Chapter One (Dublin), Ross Lewis

Martin Wishart, Martin Wishart

Plumed Horse, Tony Borthwick

36 on the Quay, Ramon Farthing

Reads, David Pitchford

L'Enclume, Simon Rogan

Harry's Place, Harry Hallam

The Yorke Arms, Frances Atkins (Owner)

Morston Hall, Galton Blackiston

The Neptune, Kevin Mangeolles

The Nut Tree, Michael North

The Kitchin, Tom Kitchin

Champany Inn, Clive Davidson (Owner)

Murano, Angela Hartnett

La Bécasse, Will Holland

Mr Underhill's at Dinham Weir, Chris Bradley

Ynyshir Hall, Shane Hughes

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Roger Jones

The Hand & Flowers, Beth Kerridge (owner)

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Hélène Darroze

Claridges, Thomas Kochs (MD)

Galvin at Windows Andre Garret, Chris Galvin

The Greenhouse, Antonin Bonnet

Maze, James Durrant

Kai, Alex Chow

Benares, Atul Kochhar

Tamarind, Alfred Prasad

Umu, Ichiro Kubota

Wild Honey & Arbutus, Anthony Demetre

Semplice, Marco Torri

Nobu Berkeley Street, Paul Murashe (GM)

Nobu, Stephan Guicheteau (GM)

The Crown at Whitebrook, James Sommerin

Boath House, Charles Lockley

The Peat Inn, Geoffry Smeddle

JSW, Jake Watkins

L'Ortolan, Alan Murchison

Rhodes W1, Paul Welburn

The Bingham, Shay Cooper

Drake's, Steve Drake

Mallory Court, Simon Haigh

The Old Vicarage, Tessa Bramley

Kinloch Lodge, Claire Tully

Ocean Restaurant at Atlantic, Mark Jordan

Bohemia, Shaun Rankin

Knockinaam Lodge, Tony Pierce

The Room in the Elephant, Simon Hulstone

The Hamborough, Robert Thompson

Roussillon, Alexis Gauthier

Quilon, Sriram V Aylur

Auberge du Lac, Phil Thompson

Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library), Jean-Denis Le Bras

The Sportsman, Stephen Harris

5 North Street, Marcus Ashenford

Holbeck Ghyll, David McLaughlin

The Star Inn, Andrew Pern

2 star

Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Andrew Fairlie

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Marcus Wareing

Midsummer House, Daniel Clifford

Pied à Terre, David Moore (Owner)

The Dining Room (Whatley Manor), Martin Burge

Le Gavroche, Silvano Giraldin

The Square, Philip Howard

The Ledbury, Brett Graham

Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Raymond Blanc

3 star

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Olivier Limousin

The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Jocelyn Herland

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Clare Smyth

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