Acclaimed chef Michel Roux, who made British restaurant history, dead at 78

Celebrated chef Michel Roux, whose high-end restaurant in London achieved a major milestone in English cuisine, has died.

He was 78.

Roux’s family said the acclaimed cook had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease, before his death on Wednesday at his Berkshire home, CNN reported.

“We are grateful to have shared our lives with this extraordinary man and we’re so proud of all he’s achieved,” the family said in a statement Thursday.

“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.”

Roux, who was born in France, opened the fine-dining eatery Le Gavroche in London in 1967 with his brother, Albert. 

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In 1982, Le Gavroche became the first restaurant in England ever to earn three Michelin stars.

Another one of Roux’s restaurants, The Waterside Inn in Berkshire, also earned a third Michelin star in 1985 after opening in 1972. It still has maintained that three star rating in the years since, making it the only restaurant not in French to hold such a rating for 25 years.

In 2002, Michel was honored with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) honor in England, and then received a Legion of Honor distinction in France in 2004.

“Michel Roux OBE was a true titan of the hospitality industry,” The Michelin Guide tweeted Thursday. “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.”

In addition to his cooking and restaurant careers, Roux authored 15 books and gave opportunities to up-and-coming chefs through his Roux Scholarship competition.

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