Video: 'Godfather' of food Albert Roux gives Grimsby Institute students a taste of fine dining
WORLD-RENOWNED chef Albert Roux brought his Michelin-starred service to Grimsby for a charity dinner.
Guests at a Grimsby Institute fundraiser in aid of St Andrew's Hospice were treated to the finest cuisine courtesy of the chef hailed as the "Godfather" of cooking.
Now scores of hospitality and catering students can say, when applying for jobs, that they have worked with Albert Roux.
He said the facilities at Grimsby Institute were "better than at Le Gavroche", the famous London restaurant he started about 45 years ago with his brother Michel. It became the first to earn three-stars in the Michelin guide.
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The 77-year-old helped students provide an excellent meal to 120 guests, who each paid £45 to support the hospice.
The vast atrium of the new Institute block was transformed into Chez Roux for the night, and he provided his expertise for free – even mashing the potatoes.
His visit to Grimsby came about when catering curriculum leader Paul Robinson sent an invitation by e-mail to Le Gavroche.
Paul said: "I could not believe it; I didn't expect to get a reply let alone an acceptance. The reply came straightaway.
"I asked if he would come to Grimsby to give a masterclass to inspire the students, but he went all the way and suggested we have a charity dinner.
"He is the Godfather of cooking. He is the biggest name to ever come to the Institute in its whole history."
Guests enjoyed a meal of rabbit en croute, quenelle of pike, which had been bought from a Grimsby fish merchant and sourced in France, followed by beef cheek and mash potato and trimmings.
Mr Roux said: "I have always felt I had to give back what I received as a young man. I would not be here without the kindness of others."
He was aware of Lincolnshire's excellent produce from the day he set up his restaurant nearly 45 years ago.
"The vegetables are wonderful because the soil is rich," he said.
As well as urging people to buy locally, he also backed the campaign begun by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to end needless discard from fishing boats.
Mr Roux is a keen fisherman in Scottish rivers, and added: "Discard is criminal. I am first in the queue to see it ended."
His favourite dish is mackerel, which he prefers "still moving as it comes off the boat".
He cooks it for just a little while, with capers and a little lemon juice and butter or a spoon of double cream. His extra special favourite is to serve it with mash potatoes and gooseberries.
And he stressed the importance of service as well as cooking.
Mr Roux said: "There is nothing worse than going into a restaurant and the waiter plonking the food in front of you.
"It is like an upset wife or girlfriend shoving a plate on the table. It puts you off and you lose your appetite."
Institute principal Sue Middlehurst said: "When does Grimsby ever get that kind of opportunity to host such a famous chef?
It is such a privilege."