Michel Roux, Chef Who Opened Britain’s First 3 Michelin-Starred Restaurant, Dies at 78

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Michel Roux, the chef responsible for opening Britain’s first three Michelin-starred restaurant, has passed away at the age of 78.

The iconic restauranteur died at his home in Berkshire, England on Wednesday after he was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, according to CNN.

“It is with deep sadness that the Roux family announces the passing of our beloved grandfather, father, brother and uncle, Michel Roux OBE. The family would like to thank everyone for their support during his illness,” his children Alain, Francine and Christine said in a statement, the news outlet reported.

“We are grateful to have shared our lives with this extraordinary man and we’re so proud of all he’s achieved,” the statement continued. “A humble genius, legendary chef, popular author and charismatic teacher, Michel leaves the world reeling in his wake. For many, he was a father figure inspiring all with his insatiable appetite for life and irresistible enthusiasm.”

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“But above all, we will miss his mischievous sense of fun, his huge, bottomless heart and generosity and kindness that knew no bounds. Michel’s star will shine forever lighting the way for a generation of chefs to follow.”

Born in France, Roux followed his older brother Albert into the culinary business as a pastry chef. Together, they opened Le Gavroche – the first British restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars – in London in 1967.

In 1972, Roux and his brother opened The Waterside Inn in Berkshire. The restaurant also receive three Michelin stars after its launch, going on to become the first dining establishment outside France to retain its 3-star rating for 25 years.

Following news of Roux’s passing, the Michelin Guide tweeted: “Michel Roux OBE was a true titan of the hospitality industry. He inspired a whole generation of chefs and the UK restaurant scene would not be what it is today were it not for his influence. Our thoughts are with his family and the many who worked with this legendary chef.”

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The Roux Scholarship, a prestigious cooking competition founded by the brothers in 1982 as a way for up-and-coming chefs to gain restaurant experience, also paid tribute to the culinary icon on social media.

“We are deeply saddened to have lost our founding father, Michel Roux OBE,” an Instagram post from its official account read. “We are grateful to have shared our lives with this extraordinary man and we’re so proud of all he’s achieved. A humble genius, legendary chef, popular author and charismatic teacher, Michel leaves the world reeling in his wake

“For many, he was a father figure inspiring all with his insatiable appetite for life and irresistible enthusiasm. But above all, we will miss his mischievous sense of fun, his huge, bottomless heart and generosity and kindness that knew no bounds. Michel’s star will shine forever lighting the way for a generation of chefs to follow”.