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Michel Roux OBE – a true hospitality hero.

We, at the Academy of Chocolate, are all deeply saddened by the loss of our Patron Michel Roux OBE.

Michel was not only one of our most celebrated chefs, restaurateurs and authors, he was also one of France and Britain’s greatest patissiers and chocolatiers.

His unique approach to hospitality, not only changed the way we all think about the way we cook and eat, but it also encouraged so many people to pursue their dreams in our fantastic sector.

Had it not been for Michel, our own Academy may never have existed. Our founder, Sara Jayne Stanes, first met Michel Roux in 1984 at a demonstration hosted by La Petite Cuisine in Richmond.

She says: “One of his dishes was a chocolate truffe gateau, divine does not do it service. Up to this point I was naïve enough to believe that chocolate meant chocolate confectionery. This amazing piece of work changed my life and my journey into the world of chocolate began. Thanks to him and his brilliant pastry chef Ian Ironside, I learnt all I know about working with the finest couvertures – and making chocolates – which I did for 25 years – with the inevitable book Chocolate The Definitive Guide (history of chocolate from the Olmecs to the present day). Michel was my chocolate mentor and friend, even introducing me to Richard who became my husband with our wedding celebrated at the Waterside (of course!).”

Michel was enthusiastic about our efforts to start the Academy of Chocolate in 2004 and became its Patron. Since then we have run numerous events for chocolate lovers about ‘proper’ chocolate and awards. In 2005 we had 20 entries. This year we had more than 1,500 entries from 60 countries.

Michel Roux was, and always will be, a hospitality champion. It was a privilege for all of us at the Academy to know him. His presence and influence will outlive us all.