Raymond Blanc is a gastronomic icon, acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. Yet his philosophy is endearingly simple: ‘My team and I aim to excel in what we do, but never to take ourselves too seriously.’ He is chef-patron and chairman of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, the two-starred Michelin hotel-restaurant in the Oxfordshire village of Great Milton. His significant influence on British cuisine has brought scores of awards, as well as decades of critical praise and glowing admiration from fellow professionals and food lovers. In July 2012 Raymond was appointed President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
He has trained some 30 chefs who have gone on to win Michelin stars, though he is a self-taught chef. His burning passion for cooking – and eating – was inspired during his childhood in Besançon, France. In 1972 he came to Britain to work as a waiter at the Rose Revived in Oxfordshire. When the cook became ill, Raymond took over. From that moment he was a chef.
At the age of 28, Raymond opened his first restaurant, Les Quat’ Saisons in Summertown, Oxford. Soon he set up Maison Blanc, a patisserie-bakery: the start of a successful chain.
Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons opened in 1984; it was, he says, ‘the fulfilment of a personal vision’. Raymond is the only chef in Britain to have retained two Michelin stars for the past 32 years. Hailed as one of the world’s best hotels, the Zagat Guide says, ‘At Le Manoir heaven doesn’t seem so far away.’
Chef Raymond Blanc also has an established cookery school at Le Manoirhotel-restaurant,the Raymond Blanc Cookery School, which he started in 1991. He is a best-selling author and his BBC television series have included the Very Hungry Frenchman and Kitchen Secrets.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 5 words…
Taste,seasonal, fresh, sustainable and honest
How did you feel when you were awarded your first Michelin star?
Over the moon, and delighted to have industry recognition for what I do.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Seasons and nature
What three things would you take to a desert island?
A sharp knife, box of matches, and arefridgerator.
- 2 Michelin Stars
- OBEfor ‘raising awareness of the importance of healthy food’
- Good Egg Award,Considerate Hoteliers’,2010
- 5 Lifetime Achievement Awards
- ‘Most Respected Chef in Great Britain’ Award, Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
+44 (0) 1844 278 881