Let’s do a quick history of the Roux family just so we know what we’re dealing with and what kind of culinary heights we can expect from a Roux cook at home kit.
In 1967 brothers Albert Roux and Michel Roux Sr, opened Le Gavroche which went on to become the first restaurant in the UK to win 3 michelin stars. Then they opened The Waterside Inn which went on to win 3 michelin stars when Michel Roux Sr took over as head chef. Albert Roux had a son Michel Roux Jr who eventually took over from his dad at Le Gavroche which then got demoted to 2 michelin stars. Albert Roux now runs his company Chez Roux which has restaurants all over the place. Michel Roux Snr, who was at the Waterside Inn, not to be confused with his nephew Michel Roux Jnr at Le Gavroche, had a son Alain Roux. Alain Roux is now head chef at The Waterside Inn where his father Michel Roux Snr has taken a back seat – the restaurant still has 3 stars. Michel Roux Jr, son of Albert Roux, nephew of Michel Roux Sr and cousin of Alain Roux is still at Le Gavroche which still has 2 stars, he has a daughter Emily Roux who is currently training as a chef and about whom we know little, he is also a judge on Masterchef Professionals. The chef who concocted today’s offering is Michel Roux Sr, as in the brother of Albert Roux, father of Alain Roux and uncle to Michel Roux Jr. Got that?
One more thing in case you hadn’t figured it out, the Roux family specialise in classical French cuisine. So what could be better for Michel Roux Sr to create than a Chicken Thai Green Curry. The other meals in the range are Indian, Singaporean, Spanish and Italian, no sign of a coq au vin anywhere, I haven’t a clue why that is but there you have it.
The idea behind the meals is that you “cook them from scratch” but in the same time it would take you to heat up a ready meal. This is a noble endeavour and could perhaps bridge the gap between home cooking and TV dinners except for one fatal flaw – you do not in any way shape or form “cook from scratch”. I opened the packet and there before me was some pre chopped chicken breast, which is chopped in the most haphazard way imaginable, some pieces the size of a toe nail clipping, others the size of a grown man’s toe. Rudimentary cooking skills will tell you that that chicken aint going to cook equally. Perhaps Michel Roux Sr has lower standards than his nephew, because I reckon if Monica Galetti saw prep like that on Masterchef Professionals she’d say something along the lines of “If chef Michel saw chicken like that he’d shit it down your throat”. Anyway, I digress – also in the packet, there was a premade curry paste, some chopped bamboo shoots, coconut milk, sugar snap peas and pre cooked rice. If I was actually cooking from scratch I’d be grinding paste up in a pestle and mortar, chopping my own chicken and cooking the rice myself, but let’s let that pass and worry about how it tastes.
The packaging is good – it is black(which is what you get when things are aiming to look classy) and has Michel’s signature embossed in silver on the front. It also has a logo that looks like a bikers tattoo, which is a hint that the makers don’t take themselves too seriously. Further evidence of this is found in the cooking instructions and general jokage dotted about the packaging – they’re worth a read if you pass one in the ailse. They have a great facebook page which will give you some idea of the tone, it is also a good place to visit to read comments from people who need a sense of humour injection.
I’ve gone on long enough now so best talk about the food, it was ready quickly like they claim on the pack, a couple of mins cooking chicken, a couple more with the curry paste a couple more with the veg and coconut milk and it was done.
I was pleasantly surprised, the curry was great! It was properly hot, but the heat was countered by the coconut milk. The curry paste was complex and fragrant with chilli heat, coriander, ginger and a limey citrus kick. I thought the rice would end up a gloopy mush, but it was perfectly cooked with just the right bite to it. It was basmati rice though, I imagine a sticky rice or a fragrant jasmine rice is too tough to pull off in a pre cooked bag, but no matter the basmati did it’s job.
So whilst “cooking from scratch” is a bit of a bold claim, it is definitely worth buying as there is just the right amount for one person and at the moment it costs £2.96 from Sainsbury’s. If you were to make your own you’d probably spend 10 times that on ingredients.
I look forward to seeing how Michel Roux Sr gets on with all the other non French dishes he created. Bravo Michel Roux Sr (brother of Albert Roux, father to Alain Roux, uncle to Michel Roux Jr).
Michel Roux Sr Cook From Scratch Chicken Thai Green Curry £2.96 (special launch price) for 41og