Celebrated chef Albert Roux made the kitchens of Haileybury his temporary home yesterday as his chefs joined the school catering team to cook for more than 40 guests who had gathered at the school to raise funds for the Attlee Foundation. Such was the success of the dinner and subsequent raffle that almost £3000 was raised.
Roux is perhaps the best-known chef in Britain, a household name as the proprietor of one of the country’s top restaurants, Le Gavroche, and through his cookery books and television programmes.
The idea for bringing "The Roux Experience" to Haileybury came from the school’s caterers, Scolarest, part of the Compass Group, who sponsored the charity event. Albert Roux himself oversaw the preparation of the dishes, which were cooked by Bruno Valette, Roux’s personal head chef, and Michael Hodges, the Haileybury executive chef. Each course was introduced by Roux who explained the choice of ingredients and the preparation of the dish.
His first course, for example, was mousselines of chicken with Roquefort, which highlighted that it isn’t necessary to use expensive ingredients to create culinary delight. This dish demonstrated how a chef’s expertise could turn a dish costing £1.50 – but taking hours of preparation – into a culinary delight.
Roux dined with his guests, who included Haileybury parents and staff and members of the Scolarest management team, including managing director Mike Bond.
All money raised will go the The Attlee Foundation Youth and Community Centre Redevelopment Fund appeal which will see the redevelopment of a community centre for some of London’s most underprivileged children. The Attlee Foundation Adventure Playground in East London is in need of refurbishment to comply with modern standards. If this is not done, the playground will have to close and the land will be used to build just four dwellings, which will not only increase the local population density but also eliminate the last open space in the area.
Additional sponsors for the evening included Coe Vintners of Ilford, Connoisseur Catering Equipment Hire and Harlow College Floristry Department.
The star prize in the raffle was theatre tickets for two, donated by Scolarest, followed by supper for two at Le Gavroche, donated by Albert Roux.