UKHospitality and The Nth Degree Club joined together to host the first annual Restaurant Association Gala Dinner, Celebrating Excellence in Food & Wine Service on Monday 25th February 2019 at The Savoy Hotel. The prestigious event was held with the support of headline sponsors No.1 Botanical Soda with guests including the Roux family who were honoured with a special award designed and sponsored by Fabergé.

“What a fabulous evening! We were so honoured at The Restaurant Association’s recognition of our family’s contribution to the UK restaurant industry. We’re now into our third generation of restaurateurs with Emily and Diego’s opening last year, and it was wonderful to receive such an accolade in front of all our respected peers,” said Michel Roux Jr. “It was also a significant occasion to raise awareness and money for the incredible work undertaken by Springboard, they do such a great job in helping young people find worthwhile careers in hospitality.”

The Restaurant Association Award for Services to Hospitality
For 2019, The Restaurant Association introduced the first ever award which was presented at the Gala Dinner. The Restaurant Association Award for Services to Hospitality, was designed and sponsored by Fabergé, and was presented to the Roux family with Albert Roux OBE, Michel Roux and Emily Roux in attendance.

Sarah Fabergé said: “I had a concept in mind and contacted my good friend and fellow member of the Worshipful Company of Turners, Joey Richardson, artist and sculptor to ask her to create a unique wooden egg for the occasion. It is hard to refer to Fabergé without eggs and the same goes for Chefs! The brief was to create an award which was 12 inches in height and to represent the Roux family by using three special gemstones supplied us. Joey set to work immediately and, with her usual passion, worked day and night to ensure this egg object included many personal references to honour the illustrious Roux family. I am delighted with the results and it was a pleasure to take part in this special evening.”

Joey Richardson said: “I was inspired by the wonderful Le Gavroche restaurant and the amazing videos of Michael Roux Jnr on their website. The egg has a number of symbols including a Gallic rooster (depicted in the piercing and airbrushing work)which not only represents the unofficial symbol of France but was also inspired by an image of Albert Roux holding a real live rooster! This is a perfect link to Fabergé as hens and cockerels feature in a number of their pieces.”

“The books on the shelves represent the library Michel Roux Jr. loves so much and which he describes as ‘the heartbeat of the restaurant’. The bottles and glasses illustrate the wine cellar and bar at Le Gavroche. Sommelier David is quoted as saying; ‘the wine cellar contains little treasures, little gems hidden in certain regions.’”

“The three gemstones and trees represent the three members of the Roux family receiving this award. The pierced rose represents the national emblem of England and symbolises the English ingredients used. Likewise, the Fleur de Lys represents France signifying perfection, light and life. To quote Michel Roux Jr, ‘everything that comes into this kitchen from the supplier has to be perfect.” Le Gavroche opened in 1967 and this is represented in the textured work together with the Roux name and Urchin, the original symbol of Le Gavroche (an image from Les Miserables).”

“The flowers represent the Michelin star symbol and the egg includes the logos of both Fabergé and the Restaurant Association together with the award title. I have incorporated my own symbol into the piece, the butterfly, which struggles to get out of its cocoon, but it is the struggle that gives it the strength in its wings to fly. Another butterfly can be found if you peer inside the egg where you will notice a spoon with egg yolk on it. This butterfly is perched on the spoon and depicted on its wings is the Eiffel Tower.”

“The dragonfly on the base is in memory of Binh Pho, my inspirational mentor and dear friend. The shoe for me will always represent Sarah Fabergé. I was with her once when a friend asked how she had travelled somewhere and she replied; ‘I just clicked my shoes and found myself here!’ Her shoes on this egg are cracking eggs to make new exciting recipes, the future.”