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Alain Roux has been involved in restaurants since he was a boy. In 1972 his father, Michel, together with his uncle Albert, opened the famous Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire, which became one of the UK’s most celebrated destinations for French food. Three decades later, Alain took over the establishment and it remains the only French restaurant outside France to have maintained three Michelin stars for nearly 40 years.

While Roux is known for his complex and inventive dishes such as pan-fried lobster medallions and ginger-flavoured vegetable julienne with a white port sauce, and black trumpet mushroom ravioli with a butternut squash coulis, sage pesto and toasted pine kernels, he is a fan of the classics as well. Roux is not afraid to admit that his favourite condiment is ketchup, and his most treasured recipes are the dishes he picked up from his grandmother.

One such favourite is a recipe for île flottante, or “floating island”. This is typically a meringue floating in crème anglaise, although Roux’s grandmother liked to add vanilla. “The story in my family is that when my grandma was preparing the dish, you knew if the people [coming over] were important because you could count the vanilla seeds. The more vanilla seeds, the more important the guests.”

Follow this link to The Times Luxury section to watch Alain make his favourite dish and if you’d like to test it yourself the recipe is included in the article.