Raymond Blanc is acknowledged as one of the world’s finest chefs. 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 by 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. At that moment, his career was born. Raymond soon opened his first restaurant, Les Quat’Saisons, in Summertown, Oxford.
It was in 1984, however, that Raymond fulfilled a personal vision when he opened Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, in Great Milton Oxfordshire. A stunning hotel and restaurant in harmony, today, Belmond Le Manoir is the only UK country house hotel to have retained two Michelin stars for over 30 years. Its gardens are the envy of bontanists worldwide and it is also home to the acclaimed Raymond Blanc Cookery School.
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 Michael Caines MBE, Marco Pierre White and Ollie Dabbous.
Raymond is a best-selling author and much loved BBC television presenter. His most recent book – Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons: The Story of a Modern Classic – is Raymond’s personal tour of Le Manoir through the four seasons. The ultimate host, he lovingly reveals the stories behind the food, gardens and rooms upon which Le Manoir has built its enviable reputation. While his BBC television series have included such titles as Kew on a Plate, Kitchen Secrets, The Very Hungry Frenchman and The Restaurant.
Raymond was the founder of Brasserie Blanc, a group of 18 brasseries in England serving high-quality French cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere and at affordable prices. An acknowledged champion of sustainability, he is also the President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. In 2007, Raymond was appointed an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen. In 2013, he was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest French decoration.
Raymond was honoured by the Hall of Fame in 2017.