Fine Living | Diary of a Somebody

Michel Roux Jr – Day 4

The Le Gavroche chef argues the case for veal brains and cajoles fellow gastronomes into signing up for marathons and matches

Michel Roux Jr – Day 4

January 11 2013
Michel Roux Jr

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

The morning begins with quite a bit of office administration, fuelled by my morning’s double espresso. As I do every January, today I review all staff salaries and ensure that all is in order. I also take a bit of extra time to review our reservations booking system. We are in the fortunate (though slightly overwhelming) position of receiving an average of 700 reservation requests a day, and already employ three full-time members of staff to respond to emails and answer calls. Despite these efforts, I hope that responses to inquiries can be speeded up and I am looking into ways in which we can make things more efficient.  

At 10am I head to Le Gavroche to meet Jinny Johnson, who is assisting with my new book. She is a wonderful source of advice when it comes to fine-tuning some of my recipes, which can occasionally have a bit too much professional chef-speak instead of an accessible tone suited to keen home-cooks. One of the more controversial recipes we discuss uses veal brains. Despite not being for the faint-hearted, we decide to include it. I think it is really important to introduce people to different parts of an animal and allow them to become comfortable using them – and not just the most expensive cuts enthusiastically promoted by supermarkets. In view of this, the book will also contain a few offal recipes, which I hope readers will enjoy.

I head back to the kitchen for another busy lunch service. One of the tables includes the effervescent wine writer Olly Smith, who is dining and wine tasting with some of the Virgin London Marathon team ahead of the forthcoming press launch. I have signed up to cook for the launch and as a keen marathon runner I will also say a few words at the event. Just as yesterday I was coaxed into playing for the Legends match in February, I have managed to cajole Olly Smith into running this year’s marathon. He is taking it incredibly seriously and has been texting me on a weekly basis for running tips. I can’t wait to see him get to the finish line – it is such a wonderful feeling.

My dad calls me after lunch, just as he is stepping off the plane from a holiday in South Africa. He is full of energy and has had a wonderful time away. We chat while I head to the gym. Once there, I cycle 32km in an hour while watching Sky Sports and BBC News. I feel great – thankfully, I think a week of taking it easy in the gym has helped my calf strain. French national team, here I come.

After a catch-up with my wife and cup of tea at home, I head back to Le Gavroche for the dinner service. The rib of beef is now firmly on the menu and is proving incredibly popular. One lucky couple, prize-winners in a charity auction, are dining with Gregg Wallace at the restaurant tonight. I cover the cost of the food and Gregg covers the cost of the wine – it is a great way to raise money for charity. I check on what is being sent out to Gregg as he is being very careful with his weight at the moment. He is incredibly well-behaved – and has just one glass of white wine and one of red. I do, however, spy that he isn’t able to resist the calvados baba, with extra cream…

Catching up with Gregg after his meal, I suggest that he might like to join me on the pitch for the English & Irish v France Legends match, particularly as he is a rugby coach in his spare time. It is gearing up to be a very fun (and perhaps competitive) event…

At home, I enjoy a glass of cider rather than my usual herbal tea. A gift from our sommelier from her local farm in Brittany, it is delicious, with a spiced sweetness. There's no better way to kick off the weekend.