NONE of the obituaries I read last week for the great chef Albert Roux mentioned the huge affection for Scotland he had conceived and cultivated for the last quarter of a century.

In his 85 years, he developed a remarkable affinity with the varied countries and cultures on our misty Atlantic archipelago. Visible from the shores of his native France, they have often been impenetrable to the understanding of his fellow Frenchmen (misreadings work in the opposite direction too, of course).

Roux had been born in deepest Burgundy, in the village of Semur that boasts to the world of its tasty frogs and snails. He was one of two sons of a man who made charcuterie, or cold cuts, from leftovers of pork. Albert sought a more sophisticated scene for his own life’s work.

The 16-year-old crossed the Channel to get his first job as a kitchen boy in the household of Lady Nancy Astor, pioneer of female MPs, at Cliveden, citadel of a fast social set. He needed to leave after a couple of years to do his national service in the French army, and had some trouble getting back into the insular UK of those days. For a while he thought of giving up the culinary life for the Catholic priesthood. But the idea of also giving up the love of women was a bit too much for the passionate young man.

Meanwhile, the nearest he could get to fulfilling his ambitions was another lowly job in a kitchen, now at the British embassy in Paris. But it proved to be the key to his future. With his natural charm, he made contacts that smoothed his path back to London, this time together with his brother Michel.

Up to the mid-60s, it was still a staid and dowdy sort of capital, but it stood on the cusp of a cool cultural revolution. The Roux brothers took the lead among restaurants. To their own place, Le Gavroche, they imported Parisian gastronomic artistry at a level hitherto unknown even in Mayfair. It was the first UK restaurant to win a Michelin star, then two Michelin stars, then three.

One reason it stood out was that the hard-working brothers used to drive over to France to pick up authentic specialities they deemed to be essential – the chickens of Bresse, the ducks of Challans, the artichokes and the asparagus. A second reason was that Albert, a keen fisherman, could now explore British shores, rougher and rockier than most of the French coastline, for relatively unfamiliar seafood.

This was what started bringing him to Scotland in the 1970s. Beside his commercial interest in the deep-sea fishing ports, he also explored the freshwater resources of the Highland lochs and burns. Nothing pleased him more than to tramp off with his rod for a day of solitude in the mountains. The wild and deserted country to the western side of the Great Glen was his favourite backdrop for these excursions.

As his knowledge grew, it was a natural next step to turn it to profitable purposes too. He had got to know members of the family who owned Inverlochy Castle, a Victorian mansion near Fort William, which they were turning into a luxury hotel. At the time the area usually attracted tatty coach parties, but now the talk was of lifting the dismal standards of Highland tourism and targeting a new clientele of wealthy globetrotters.

In 2006, Roux entered on a partnership with Inverlochy Castle Management International. His role was to develop menus for what soon became a growing chain of hotels, much the biggest in the Highlands and expanding into the Lowlands too. In each of them, there is a Chez Roux menu on offer.

I’ll give the example of one I had at Inverlochy showing just what a difference Albert made in bringing French culinary prowess to the unique quality of produce reared or hunted in Scotland. This menu had 12 items on it, with four choices for each of three courses. For my starter I chose cannelloni with a stuffing of wild rabbit and a garnish of girolle mushrooms and lardo (very fat Italian bacon). For the main course I had monkfish with pearl barley (both Scottish but in an unusual combination) further enhanced by aubergine puree and kohlrabi, all with a saffron sauce. And for dessert there was a creme fraiche parfait with raspberries, whisky, honey and toasted oats.

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CLEARLY the chefs had gone to some trouble to give the meal a pronounced local flavour. And yet there was nothing ordinary or hackneyed about it. On the contrary, I don’t think I had ever had these precise mixes of ingredients before. A master hand was at work.

It is easy to understand that the chain of hotels expanded. I don’t want to labour the irresistible menus, but I can’t omit to mention another I had at a later member of the chain, Rocpool Reserve in Inverness.

There was a starter of crab with refreshing garnishes (curried mayonnaise, Granny Smith apple, fennel and shallot dressing,

creamed avocado and lime). Then came the main course of calf’s liver, with sweet fried onions and potato puree, golden raisins infused with balsamic vinegar, pine nuts, pancetta and sage.

I could go on, but let me forecast that visits to others of the chain’s components – to Andy Murray’s Cromlix Hotel, to Greywalls at Gullane, East Lothian, to the Isle of Eriska Hotel near Oban, or to Crossbasket Hotel, High Blantyre – will be as well rewarded with Roux’s recipes.

More generally, what this has meant over the last 30 or 40 years is that the wilds of Scotland, with their sparse population and perilously seasonal tourist traffic, have built up a network of haute cuisine that should be the envy of every other region in the UK. It is largely owed to the culinary genius of Albert Roux.

Now that the great chef has passed on, I do hope the memory of his love of Scotland will be preserved in the chain of restaurants. A proprietor’s rights presumably pass to his son Michel, familiar as a tele-chef. But his professional reputation really rests on being the owner of Le Gavroche, where he still follows high French culinary principles though in a form “much lighter”, to use his own term. May he also find the time and energy to sustain the Highland network he has inherited. It means we in Scotland do not need to travel to London for the finest classical cuisine.

As some sort of change is bound to come, I would advise all my readers to drop by at one of the Chez Roux restaurants in Scotland before that happens. And while they are there, they should drink a toast to the late Albert, not only for his cuisine but also for his politics. His long love affair with this country made him also a supporter of Scottish independence.