Charleston Academy has a significant partnership with the Albert Roux Consultancy. Chef Albert Roux OBE is head of the famous cooking dynasty that includes his son Michel Roux Jnr, his brother Michel and nephew Alain Roux. The family are behind many successful UK restaurants including Le Gavroche in London which was the first ever restaurant to be awarded three Michelin Stars. Others include The Waterside Inn in Bray and The Landau in London. Closer to home, Albert Roux runs restaurants at Greywalls in Edinburgh, Inverlochy Castle and of course, the Five Star Rocpool Reserve in Inverness.
Albert Roux trained as a patissier in his native France. He then worked at the French Embassy in London, followed by the British Embassy in Paris. He and his brother opened Le Gavroche in 1967.
Half of all the Michelin awarded chefs now working in the UK have been trained and initially began their careers at one of the Roux Brothers’ restaurants.
These include Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and Marcus Wearing.
With this reputation for world class cooking and training it is significant that Albert Roux has chosen Charleston Academy as his adopted school as part of the Chefs Adopt a School Scheme. This scheme, run as a charity with Prince Charles as its patron, sends chefs into schools to deliver food education to young people, about where food comes from, how it is grown, and how it can be cooked. Albert Roux visits Charleston Academy at least four times per year to work with pupils in Hospitality. The programme covers taste, healthy eating, nutrition, and hygiene as well as front of house training.
HRH, The Prince of Wales
“Chefs Adopt a School is so important, without it, the next generation will really suffer.”
Heston Blumenthal, OBE
Albert Roux Gala Dinners
So impressed has Albert Roux been with the commitment, enthusiasm and motivation of both pupils and staff in our Home Economics department that he challenged them to host a gala dinner for 100 paying guests within Charleston Academy back in 2010. This dinner was so successful, with guests paying £30 for a three course, Michelin Award quality meal, that Albert Roux challenged us again. Gala dinners have been held each year since then, each one bigger and more ambitious than the one before. Our fourth Albert Roux Dinner was held on 12 September 2013.
In February 2015 Mr Roux officially opened our Albert Roux Training Kitchen and our fifth Gala Dinner was held in the Autumn of 2015 to celebrate the Year of Food and Drink.
The video below shows some highlights from the evening. The photos and still images were taken by Liam Black (6S1) and Zarah Gollan (6S1) of our Higher Photography class.
At these dinners, Mr Roux demands the highest of standards from our pupils and puts them through their paces as they prepare, cook and serve a top-quality meal to over 100 guests that includes representatives from across the hospitality industry in the Highlands, their teachers and of course the most demanding food critics of all – their parents.
Mr Roux has now employed four Charleston Academy pupils as apprentices to work at his establishments in Inverness, Edinburgh and Paris. His first recruit, Caitlin Granger is now working with the Roux Consultancy in Paris. Rebecca Williamson is working at le Gavroche in London. Gary Millard began his training at Rocpool in Inverness and is now at Greywalls in Edinburgh. He will soon head to France. Mr Roux’s fourth apprentice, Leah Kiro heads to Andy Murray’s new hotel Cromlet in Dunblane to begin training in the Roux Restaurant there.
Furthermore, due to the outstanding impression our pupils have made on Mr Roux, he has allowed them to work with him at top class catering events recently. These have included the Open Golf at Castle Stuart, the Taste of Tain, and events hosted by Mr Roux at Culloden Battlefield visitor centre for the National Trust.
Albert Roux Kitchen
Mr Roux is passionate about the need to engage more young people in Scotland in quality catering and hospitality. Acknowledging that Scotland has the finest ingredients a top chef could ever want, Mr Roux is determined to leave a legacy that encourages many more youngsters to pursue careers in the hospitality industry within the Highlands. To facilitate that Mr Roux has been working in partnership with Electrolux and Kenwood to construct a fully-fledged, industry standard catering training kitchen within Charleston Academy.
In 2012 Mr Roux was offered and accepted our proposal that this kitchen be named after him. The Albert Roux Kitchen was completed in October 2014 and was officially opened by Mr Roux in February 2015. A kitchen in our Home Economics department was converted to industrial training standards allowing our department to offer a wider range of vocational courses suited to the demands of the hospitality industry. The school embarked on ambitious fundraising over three years and together with other partners and donations from Ward Discretionary Budgets, Highland Council, the City of Inverness Common Good Fund, and Education Scotland Food for Thought raised in excess of £200,000 to build the Kitchen. Huge contributions have been made by parents and others in our local community through attendance at our Albert Roux Dinners and purchase of raffle prizes. It really is a true community partnership.