Raymond Blanc OBE
Chef Patron, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Founder, The Raymond Blanc Consultancy; President of The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA)
Raymond Blanc OBE is acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. Completely self-taught, his significant influence on British cuisine has brought scores of awards.
Born in Besançon, France, Raymond’s passion for cooking was inspired by the local terroir and the formidable Maman Blanc whose unwavering dedication to the seasons formed the basis of Raymond’s food philosophy.
In 1972, Raymond arrived in Britain to work as a waiter. One day, when the cook was ill, Raymond took over the kitchen and at that moment his career was born. Raymond soon opened his first restaurant – Les Quat’Saisons – in Summertown, Oxford. Triumph swiftly followed.
It was in 1984, however, that Raymond fulfilled a personal vision when he opened Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire – a stunning restaurant and hotel in harmony. Belmond Le Manoir is renowned for offering one of Britain’s finest gastronomic experiences and is the only UK country house hotel to have retained two Michelin stars for an astounding 34 years. It is also home to the acclaimed Raymond Blanc Cookery School, welcoming keen cooking enthusiasts from around the world.
Although entirely self-taught himself, Raymond has championed and nurtured some of the country’s most respected chefs in his kitchens. Some 33 of these protégés have gone on to win Michelin stars for themselves, including such names as Michael Caines MBE, Marco Pierre White, Ollie Dabbous and Bruno Loubet.
Raymond was proudly the founder of Brasserie Blanc (formerly Le Petit Blanc), a group of now 20 brasseries across England, serving great-quality French cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere and at affordable high street prices. Brasserie Blanc’s dishes are seasonal and freshly prepared, with ingredients sourced with care from some of the best producers and farmers in the country.
Raymond is a best-selling author and BBC television presenter. His most recent book – Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons: The Story of a Modern Classic – is Raymond’s personal tour of the legendary restaurant and hotel through the four seasons. It has been met with critical acclaim. While his BBC television series have included such popular titles as Kitchen Secrets, Kew on a Plate, The Very Hungry Frenchman, and The Restaurant.
An acknowledged champion of sustainability, Raymond is the President of The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The SRA is a not-for-profit membership organisation of foodservice businesses, suppliers and discerning diners, all working together towards a sustainable foodservice industry.
In 2007, Raymond was appointed an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of his services to the British food industry.
In 2013, he was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, in recognition of his achievements promoting French gastronomy in the United Kingdom.