FRIDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2011 • A SPECIAL DAY IN THE RAYMOND BLANC COOKERY SCHOOL
A Very Special Day in the Raymond Blanc Cookery School
Yesterday I taught at the Raymond Blanc cookery School at Le Manoir. The course is named “La nutrition et la cuisine moderne”. I created this course 18 years ago with the help of Oxford Brookes University.
Today, I had the great pleasure and honour of running the course with my fiancée, Natalia, and I must say that I felt a little nervous! Frstly Natalia was running the course with me; she has a medical degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Human Nutrition from Oxford Brookes University; and secondly the very nature of the students… who were all journalists and editors of the most prestigious newspapers and magazines.
Once the nerves had gone it was pure joy to delve deep into the connection of food and good nutrition and demonstrating for us “Bons Vivants” the good news that good food and good nutrition can at last be feasted on together.
For many years in this country we have separated food from our culture, we have reduced it to a mere commodity; we made a virtue out of cheap and fast food. This had terrible consequences on the health of the nation, farming, environment and society at large and also …….. less joie de vivre.
I am no nutritionist; I am a craftsman who loves food and wants to promote the links between good food, farming and nutrition. I also served a long apprenticeship in Maman Blanc’s Kitchen introducing me to the many rules of local produce, seasonality, ethics and simple good inexpensive family food. All my life I have observed these simple ideas as a principle and passed them on to as many friends as possible.
The course is aimed at demystifying both cooking and nutrition and to demonstrate on how simple cooking skills can enhance the enjoyment, the nutritional content of the food and the lively conversation around the table.
We were lucky to have my assistant development chef Kush on hand to demonstrate how to make a perfect vegetable curry, and to explain exactly how the spices all work together.
I also realised how elegant and smart Natalia was, as I quietly watched her juggling carbohydrates, fats and protein and enlightening us with a deeper understanding of all vitamins and minerals, which have a huge influence on our health and wellbeing. It was wonderful to see her handling hundreds of questions on how food connects with our health and I also found it rewarding being able to answer most of them!
It was a wonderful day full of joie de vivre and good cooking, learning and enlightenment.
Thank you Natalia, thank you Mark and the team. I look forward to welcoming you to the Raymond Blanc Cookery School.
Ten Commandments for wholesome and good food
For more information on The Raymond Blanc Cookery School and the many courses we offer, click on the link below:
- Use only the freshest food, organic where possible, to ensure wholesomeness and nutritional quality.
- Eat a varied diet and go on enjoying meat so long as you eat lots of vegetables and fruits. And two or so glasses of red wine a day is not frowned upon.
- Try to use as little sugar and salt as possible in cooking, particularly in your children’s meals. Let them grow up with more refined palates than us – and free from our health problems.
- Remember that a simple omelette and a glass of red wine is, in all ways, a superior alternative to a Mars bar and a can of cola.
- At least three times a week, invite your child(ren) to your table so that you dine together, facing each other instead of the television.
- Get into the habit of reading food labels when shopping in order to avoid the nastiest additives and excess salt and sugar.
- Date your prepared dishes when you are freezing or refrigerating them. Most food poisoning happens at home.
- When dining out, take your children with you sometimes. They will enjoy it.
- You are a consumer. All food revolutions have been achieved through the collective action of consumers. Be critical and demanding. You have a role to play, so be responsible.
- Cooking is an act of love, so give the best to your family
PS Please tell me what you think of my blogs and my website: I want to hear from you!
Raymond Blanc's new book, Kitchen Secrets, featuring recipes from Kitchen Secrets Series 1 & 2 and many more, was published by Bloomsbury on 14 February and is available to buy online from Amazon, from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Brasserie Blanc, Maison Blanc, and from online and retail bookstores.
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