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Internationally acclaimed chef to create new restaurant

1st May 2008 Print
Ronnie Ben-Zur, owner of the new La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa, has reached an agreement with one of the world’s most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs to create a signature, fine-dining restaurant on the grounds of the Lake Conroe retreat.

Chef Albert Roux, named with his brother by their peers as the most influential chefs in the United Kingdom and whose London restaurant became the first ever in the United Kingdom to hold the coveted three stars by the Michelin Guide, will create Chez Roux as the premiere dining venue among the more than 10 restaurants and cafes to operate at the resort. Its creation adds La Torretta to a remarkable list of famed, overseas dining destinations under the Albert Roux Consultancy umbrella.

Chez Roux is soon to be under construction and will be a free-standing, upscale facility located on the lake shore. The famed chef agreed to give the restaurant his name because of his close involvement in the project and will be directly and personally involved in guiding the creation of a contemporary French menu with heavy emphasis on local and fresh products to give it a hint of Texas flavor. The restaurant is projecting opening by year’s end.

With this restaurant by Albert Roux, La Torretta will join the select company of The Walbrook Club in London, Inverlochy Castle in Scotland, The Ellington in Leeds, Brasserie Roux in London’s Sofitel St. James, the Grand Jersey Hotel in the Channel Islands and the Compass Group where Roux is chairman of its Contract Catering Division, Roux Fine Dining. As the only American restaurant in the group, Chez Roux has become a primary focus of Roux’s many projects.

World wide, the accolades for Albert Roux and his brother, are among the highest for any chefs. In 2002, UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw described the brothers as “two of Britain’s finest ambassadors who have greatly enhanced Britain’s gastronomic standing in the world.” Straw continued to describe their influence, saying, “Thirty years ago, just the phrase ‘British cuisine’ would have led to a belly laugh. That we can now talk proudly of ‘British cuisine’ owes a huge amount to the outstanding work of the Roux brothers.”

Albert Roux was already a professional French chef when he arrived in Britain in the 1960s, having worked as a private chef for several of the world’s most influential and wealthy families. His first restaurant was Le Gavroche, which opened in London’s Lower Sloane Street. In 1981, the restaurant was moved to Brook Street, and it was there, one year later, that it became the first restaurant in the UK to obtain the highest accolade in the gastronomic world, three stars by the Michelin Guide.

While Chef Roux will not be in residence at La Torretta year round, he is already scheduled for a series of week-long visits beginning Oct. 19 and continuing through 2009, during which numerous special culinary events will be planned. In his absence, Chez Roux will be presided over by a chef personally selected by Albert Roux and trained at Le Gavroche. The restaurant and chef will be supported by a professional staff trained under Roux’s guidance to meet the specifically high standards of a Roux property. In addition, Chef Roux will be giving general consultancy on the rest of the dining facilities at the resort.

Construction of La Torretta Del Lago is well underway with an official opening date targeted for early October, 2008. The addition of Chez Roux will add to La Torretta Del Lago’s future international status as one of the ultimate Texas destinations for pampering, recreation and conferencing in the state's most beautiful lake and forest terrains.

Backed with an investment of approximately $130 million, La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa is being planned as a world-class business and leisure lodging facility. When completed this fall, the 445-room resort will offer in addition to the state-of-the-art spa facilities, internationally-recognized dining options, an 18-hole golf course, upscale mini-golf course, lake activities, swimming and water sports. The meticulously-planned, self-contained property is located on one of the most beautiful shorelines of Lake Conroe and is less than 90 minutes from Houston and 45 minutes from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

French Quarter VIII LLLP, a Houston-based hospitality firm which is part of Mr. Ben-Zur’s French Quarter Group and of which he is president, acquired the former Del Lago Golf Resort and Conference Center after the 25-year-old property closed last year. Far more than a renovation, the plans for the once-popular Del Lago include a combination of services and amenities found only at leading resorts of the world.

All rooms are a minimum of 600 square feet, divided into separate sleeping rooms and living rooms and include spacious bathrooms. Guests will have free high-speed internet connections, two 42-inch flat-screen televisions in each room and top-of-the-line furnishings. The resort will have more than 70,000 square feet of meeting space. Some of the rooms are in villas, each with their own boat slip, located on the lake’s shores and cottages located on the golf course for group, family or romantic getaways.

With the 22,000-acre Lake Conroe as its closest neighbor, La Torretta will provide guests with options to boat, sail, jet ski or just bask on its private white-sand beach. The all new, modern, stand-alone spa facility with 20 treatment rooms will offer a variety of standard and specialty treatments and services. Six swimming pools - including a 6,400 square-foot pool, an infinite edge elevated pool and a uniquely designed Lay-Z River amusement ride- will be complemented by three hot-tubs spas to create one of the largest aquatic centers in any U.S. hotel. The famed 18-hole, par 71 golf course has also been completely reconstructed. Miniature golf and a myriad of planned activities add yet more to the guest options.

Not unlike a lighthouse to ocean mariners, the gleaming, 20-story main building of the resort stands along the tree-lined shores of the magnificent Lake Conroe, promising escape, comfort and safe harbor. It is this impressive tower - La Torretta - that gives this one-of-a-kind luxury resort its name.

For additional information on Chef Roux, visit