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Indeed, two geologists recently spotted a sample of Libyan desert glass among the jewels of King Tutankhamen at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The glass had been carved into the shape of a scarab, a central jewel in a large breastplate.
This combination of seemingly exotic dishes along with their crisp chef whites was quite unlike anything the British restaurant scene had seen before and their arrival heralded the start of a food revolution here.
‘I’d never use a ghost writer; I write down the recipes with a pencil and work on them over six months.
I came here to cook for people in Asia and show classic French cooking, but we will also use local ingredients. The people are still in love with food, not fashionable food, stupidly, like Europe.‘In Britain and France people are not excited any more. Many people are snobs – they go somewhere because it’s a name, it’s not about the food any more.’ Roux is particularly savage about attitudes in his native country.Nobody over the past 30 years has put together a book like this.’At 72, the chef has lost little of his vitality, charm or indeed fire but says he’s better at balancing his work and leisure.He has no plans to retire, but admits that having run a restaurant empire with his brother, which today is split between their sons Alain and Michel Jr, he now feels ‘small is beautiful’.His best-selling cookbooks have guided amateur and professional chefs away from boiled beef and carrots and towards haute cuisine, but Michel Roux Sr fears he’s helped create a monster. ‘Only one in ten of the books published each year are good.I would say 50 per cent of cookbooks should not be published at all.’ He declines to name names, but his frustration at younger ‘TV personality-chefs’ delivering books to tie in with their series is palpable.