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 who created seasonal and wholesome family meals made with love.
In 1972, Raymond arrived in Britain to work as a waiter in Oxfordshire. One day, when the cook was ill, Raymond took over the kitchen and at that moment, his career was born. At the age of 28, Raymond 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 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 the past 30 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. Thirty of these chefs have gone on to win Michelin stars for themselves, including Marco Pierre White, Michael Caines MBE, Ollie Dabbous and Bruno Loubet to name a few.
Raymond is a best-selling author and his BBC Two television series have included The Very Hungry Frenchman, Kitchen Secrets and The Restaurant. His latest series and book – Kew on a Plate – saw Raymond team up with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to create a stunning kitchen garden to showcase the heritage and botany of our favourite plants as well as to uncover their growing and cooking secrets. It was met with critical acclaim.
Raymond was also the founder of Brasserie Blanc (formerly Le Petit Blanc), a group of some 20 brasseries in England, serving great-quality French cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere and at affordable prices. And an acknowledged champion of sustainability, Raymond is the President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), a not-for-profit organisation leading the industry in becoming more sustainable.
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.