Raymond Blanc has a lot to say on a lot of topics. Good Things chatted to him about poetry, sustainability, late-night fridge raids and the moment he knew he’d made it.
Raymond Blanc, OBE needs absolutely no introduction. The Frenchman is recognisable to almost everyone in his adopted country for his Michelin-starred cuisine, cookbooks, television appearances, and his warm, garrulous manner. It’s easy to get him talking – and what he says is certainly worth listening to…
What is the biggest challenge?
Raymond Blanc: Not having enough hours in the day – but our great teams work very, very hard, keeping our two Michelin stars for 32 years, so we have the rewards and it is worthwhile!
What was the moment you knew you’d ‘made it’?
Meeting the Queen Mother at Le Manoir was a huge moment in my life, and remains one of my fondest memories.
What is ‘Raymond Blanc’s late-night fridge-raid supper’?
Steak Maman Blanc, spinach, cheese and bread with red wine.
As a self-taught chef, what’s the one lesson you wish someone had taught you?
I think being taught about patience and perseverance would have been wonderful – but this is something we have to learn as we go.
What are your thoughts on being a celebrity?
I’m a self-taught chef and I’ll always be a chef. Being a ‘celebrity’ has sort of just come with being on television, which I chose to do because it provides a platform of education for young people. That said, I think celebrity chefs have a part in demystifying cooking to the general public.
Is sustainability important to you?
Where social, moral and environmental responsibilities around food are concerned, there is truly a quiet revolution going on – in homes, restaurants, local shops and supermarkets. My work with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA)has helped highlight the war on waste; you owe it to your customers to source the most sustainable produce. As customers, we must ask more questions – what we’re eating, where it came from, what happens to the leftovers. It’s all part of creating ‘a virtuous circle’. My work with the Marine Stewardship Council helps me focus on spreading understanding of what we’re doing to our seas and what we need to do to protect them and the wildlife that lies beneath. Current and past issues are together in one melting pot. We need to understand them all and their impact on the earth. Food connects everything – our environment, society, farming, home life, family values, the health of the nation and more. The revolution is a slow one, but it is happening.
What’s coming next?
In 2014, I introduced a heritage garden, re-introducing forgotten varieties of herbs, vegetables and fruit. Gardening is a huge passion of mine. I plan to create another garden called the ‘Henri Le Worm’ garden for our younger guests. Looking ahead, we are working on new courses at The Raymond Blanc Cookery School – the first UK cookery school within a two Michelin-starred kitchen. With nutritionist Natalia Traxel, we’re focusing on specialist areas – gluten free, skin and beauty, and allergies.