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Chris King
Article added on January 17, 2011

Biography of the Chris King, the head chef at the restaurant Roux at the Landau at the Langham London Hotel
Chris King is the chef de cuisine at the restaurant Roux at the Landau at The Langham London. He is a protégé of Michel Roux Jr. (Pembury, Kent, *1960), who runs the restaurants Le Gavroche (two Michelin stars), Roux at Parliament Square and Roux at the Landau.

Chris King was born in 1983 in a small town in Connecticut. He has worked on and off at Le Gavroche from 2004 to 2010. He completed his apprenticeship there and rose to the position of sous chef, always under the supervision of Michel Roux Jr., from whom he learned the love of classical French techniques and outstanding quality produce.

In 2008, he was given the opportunity to cook at Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York, where he learned from the then sous chef and current head chef, Eli Kaimeh, how to bring creativity to the kitchen, to never plate the same dish the same way twice. From the head chef, Jonathan Benno, he learned how to decide ad hoc what to create with the day's fresh produce,.

After the Per Se, Chris King returned to London's Le Gavroche in August 2009 to work as sous chef again. Subsequently, he helped Michel Roux as sous chef with the opening of Roux at Parliament, which opened in May 2010. It offers French classical techniques in a lighter, contemporary way.

At the end of 2010, Chris King moved to The Langham London to prepare the opening of Roux at the Landau, the first collaboration in 19 years of Michel Roux Jr. with his father Albert (*1935).

The French-born chef Albert Roux OBE is a legend in the UK. In 1967, together with his brother Michel, he opened the first Michelin-starred restaurant in London, Le Gavroche, now run by his son Michel Roux Jr. Incidentally, Albert's granddaughter, Michel's daughter Emily, is at culinary school and may become a noted chef herself.

Since the official opening of the restaurant on November 24, 2010 Chris King works at Roux at the Landau in the position of head chef. It is the first time he assumes the highest responsibility in a restaurant.

Franco Becci is the restaurant manager at Roux at the Landau. The Italian born veteran of the business has worked 18 years at the Savoy and from 2003 to 2007 at Brown's Hotel. I stayed a first time at Brown's just after Rocco Forte had taken it over, but before its refurbishment. As in all London hotels visited at the time, I asked for a Roquefort cheese for breakfast. As all other hotels, Franco Becci told me that he could offer me a Stilton instead. But unlike the other luxury restaurant mangers, he assured me that the following day - I asked on a Sunday - he would have a Roquefort for me. And so it happened. You are in save hands with Franco Becci.

Roux at the Landau is situated on Regent Street, opposite BBC Broadcasting House, with its own dedicated entrance; it can also be accessed directly from The Langham London hotel.

The kitchen philosophy at the restaurant Roux at the Landau

Chris King told me that his philosophy derives from classical French techniques, interpreted in a lighter, contemporary fashion. He is inspired by the traditional cuisines of the world, which he interprets in his own way. Roux at the Landau also features some classic British favorites. For instance roast chicken for two, carved at the side of the table.

One of his signature dishes is a chicken salad (salade de volaille) with a crisp hen egg, glazed chicken oysters, charlottes, endives and hazalnuts.

Michel Roux Jr. said about his protégé: “Chris King is a rising star, and his menus reflect the Roux trademark style of classically-constructed French dishes, blended with today's tastes for lighter choices. All Chris' dishes feature the best seasonal ingredients.”

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Review of a dinner at the restaurant Roux at the Landau at the Langham London

Reviewed on January 15, 2011

January 15 was a Saturday. Not only the Roux at the Landau, but also the Palm Court and the Artesian Bar were very busy and offered a great ambiance.

Chris King always offers a few vegetarian dishes. On my evening, two vegetarian starters and two main courses were on the menu. I chose one main course as my starter and the other one as my main dish. Voss mineral still water was to accompany my dinner.

The evening began with a glass of champagne, an excellent Albert Roux Grand Cru (Lenoble) Blanc de Blanc with 12% alcohol. A bred roll selection with butter and salt was presented. Six amuse-gueules, three pairs, followed: a quails egg with celeriac rémoulade, a salad of pickled seasonal vegetables and a stilton and walnut Mouneyrac pear.

The tender Swiss chard pierogi with buttered chestnuts and sour cherries as a starter made appetite for more. The main dish consisted of a Cèpe mushroom and Acquerello rice risotto with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and balsamic grilled Treviso salad. When the restaurant manager Franco Becci asked me how I liked the risotto, I told him that I preferred the rice to be more al dente. As an Italian, he understood my request and insisted to bring me another one. The second risotto was still not al dente, but since it was good anyway (catering to the English taste), I went with it and did not regret it.

A very young and refreshing 2010 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from the Isabel Estate in New Zealand accompanied my risotto. The wine contained an astonishingly high 13.5% alcohol. When I told the sommelier that the Sauvignon Blanc on the wine list was from 2009, he brought me a glass to taste it. Unfortunately, that vintage was already too sweet and boring. So go for the 2010.

The best part of the dinner was to come with the two desserts I chose to taste. An Italian waitress had recommended the soufflé, which turned out to be an excellent choice. It was a mouth-watering Pear William and walnut soufflé with pear stripes and a bitter chocolate sorbet on top.

As difficult a goal to achieve as it was, my second dessert, an ivory chocolate (meaning white chocolate) and vanilla mousse with hazelnuts was both delicate and brilliant.

To accompany my desserts, I had chosen a Fonseca Vintage Port 1983, which turned out to be a recommendable 1985 Port, bottled in 1987, with 20.5% alcohol.

In short, Chris King is a talent to watch, but he still has some way to go. The restaurant service was efficient and customers were not overloaded with information. The ambiance was terrific.

Chris King at work in the kitchen.
Photo ©  The Langham London.

The restaurant Roux at the Landau. Photo © The Langham London.

Michel Roux Jr., Chris King and Albert Roux. Photos © The Langham London.

Michel Roux Jr. and Chris King in their restaurant Roux at Landau. Photos © The Langham London.

The exterior of the Victorian hotel in all its glory. Photos © The Langham London.

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.