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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
19 May 2010

Nick and I felt very honoured last night. We were practically the only non-chef civilians at a huge Thames-side gathering to celebrate the 25 years that Michel Roux's Waterside Inn at Bray has held the highest Michelin accolade of three stars. Michel and Robin Roux invited chefs from all of Britain's Michelin-starred establishments, and chefs from abroad who had worked at the Waterside. It would be almost invidious to mention individuals as virtually everyone in the UK culinary firmament seemed to be there*, with the conspicuous exception of Gordon Ramsay. We arrived just as Raymond Blanc was being helped from his car on crutches, having just had his foot put together after serious injury.

The head guys from Michelin itself were also much in evidence. Addressing the assembled company in the picture is Jean-Luc Naret, the head honcho in Paris. Also on the jetty are, straightening his tie, the current head of Michelin in the UK Derek Bulmer, who assured the chefs that he had given all his inspectors last night off so they should just relax and enjoy it, Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck, and Bulmer's predecessor Derek Brown. Michel's hard-working son, chef Alain Roux, leaves the jetty to get cookin'. The plan was to serve one dish for each year but we left as the meat courses were starting, nearing 11 pm. Ever the thoughtful host, Michel found me a glass of Sauternes, and a car back to London!.


Purple pager Roger Jones of The Harrow was there, and told me he was looking forward to cooking this meal in London today. He also told me just how gifted his award-winning 16 year-old chef Jaillin Argent is. 'Heston very kindly has now offered her a placement later this year. We have her till she is 20 (she turned 17 last week) when she can either take over The Harrow or go on to pastures new. She spends her days off at other Michelin-starred restaurants. She started with me when she was 14. I also have another very young bright star (aged 13) - but she wants to be a lawyer first - then open a restaurant once she has passed her law degrees!'

Michel Roux's suppliers donated some very smart wines, including a delicious Beyer Alsace Riesling, Mouton 1990 and Yquem 1986. The Louis Jadot 1985 Chapelle Chambertin was especially delicious, even if it probably needs drinking. I did my bit.

In the short film below Heston, Michel Roux's neighbour in Bray, tells us about the cake that brought them together.

*The following were the chefs on the guest list (courtesy of this article in The Independent):

1 star
The Harwood Arms, Stephen Williams
The Walnut Tree Inn, Shaun Hill
Summer Isles, Chris Firth-Bernard
The Cliff House Hotel, Martijn Kajuiter
The Latymer (Penny Hill Park), Michael Wignall
Deanes, Michael Deane
Zafferano, Enzo Cassini (manager)
Nahm, Matthew Albert
The Pipe & Glass Inn, James Mackenzie
The West House, Graham Garrett
Fraiche, Marc Wilkinson
Simpsons, Andreas Antona
Turner's, Richard Turner
Burlington Restaurant (The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey), Steve Smith
Lords of the Manor, Matt Wheedon
The Royal Oak, Dominic Chapman
Casamia Peter & Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias The Goose, Ryan Simpson
The Terrace (The Montagu Arms Hotel), Matt Tomkinson
Chapter One (Bromley), Andre McLeish
Tom Aikens, Tom Aikens
West Stoke House, Darren Brown
The Park (Lucknam), Hywel Jones
The Bybrook (The Manor House Hotel & Golf Club), Richard Davies
Rhodes Twenty Four, Adam Gray
Club Gascon, Pascal Aussignac
Tyddyn Llan, Bryan Webb
Apicus, Tim Johnson
Ockenden Manor, Stephen Crane
The New Angel, John Burton-Race
Sienna, Russell Brown
Thornton's, Kevin Thornton
Chapter One (Dublin), Ross Lewis
Martin Wishart, Martin Wishart
Plumed Horse, Tony Borthwick
36 on the Quay, Ramon Farthing
Reads, David Pitchford
L'Enclume, Simon Rogan
Harry's Place, Harry Hallam
The Yorke Arms, Frances Atkins (Owner)
Morston Hall, Galton Blackiston
The Neptune, Kevin Mangeolles
The Nut Tree, Michael North
The Kitchin, Tom Kitchin
Champany Inn, Clive Davidson (Owner)
Murano, Angela Hartnett
La Bécasse, Will Holland
Mr Underhill's at Dinham Weir, Chris Bradley
Ynyshir Hall, Shane Hughes
The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Roger Jones
The Hand & Flowers, Beth Kerridge (owner)
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Hélène Darroze
Claridges, Thomas Kochs (MD)
Galvin at Windows Andre Garret, Chris Galvin
The Greenhouse, Antonin Bonnet
Maze, James Durrant
Kai, Alex Chow
Benares, Atul Kochhar
Tamarind, Alfred Prasad
Umu, Ichiro Kubota
Wild Honey & Arbutus, Anthony Demetre
Semplice, Marco Torri
Nobu Berkeley Street, Paul Murashe (GM)
Nobu, Stephan Guicheteau (GM)
The Crown at Whitebrook, James Sommerin
Boath House, Charles Lockley
The Peat Inn, Geoffry Smeddle
JSW, Jake Watkins
L'Ortolan, Alan Murchison
Rhodes W1, Paul Welburn
The Bingham, Shay Cooper
Drake's, Steve Drake
Mallory Court, Simon Haigh
The Old Vicarage, Tessa Bramley
Kinloch Lodge, Claire Tully
Ocean Restaurant at Atlantic, Mark Jordan
Bohemia, Shaun Rankin
Knockinaam Lodge, Tony Pierce
The Room in the Elephant, Simon Hulstone
The Hamborough, Robert Thompson
Roussillon, Alexis Gauthier
Quilon, Sriram V Aylur
Auberge du Lac, Phil Thompson
Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library), Jean-Denis Le Bras
The Sportsman, Stephen Harris
5 North Street, Marcus Ashenford
Holbeck Ghyll, David McLaughlin
The Star Inn, Andrew Pern
2 star
Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Andrew Fairlie
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Marcus Wareing
Midsummer House, Daniel Clifford
Pied à Terre, David Moore (Owner)
The Dining Room (Whatley Manor), Martin Burge
Le Gavroche, Silvano Giraldin
The Square, Philip Howard
The Ledbury, Brett Graham
Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Raymond Blanc
3 star
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Olivier Limousin
The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Jocelyn Herland
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Clare Smyth