MONDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2011 • LOVE IS IN THE AIR AT LE MANOIR!
Love was most certainly in the air last week ...
When I opened Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons I had a number of definite aims. I wanted to create a place of excellence, a place for celebrations – of life and of love. A place for a special moment with a loved one.
Last week, I was completely spoilt. An evening at Le Manoir had been arranged, and the title of the event was ‘An Audience with Raymond Blanc’! I’m sorry; this is not meant to sound vain. I am truly touched and flattered that people would want to spend an evening in my company.
This event was organised by The AA for a very small number of their members. From the AA, we welcomed their President Edmund King, Andrew King (CEO of AA Insurance), Simon Numphud (AA Hotel Services Manager), Rupert Miles (CEO of AA Media) and Stuart Gibbons (Senior Product Manager of the AA).
As as guide to gastronomy in the UK, the AA has been hugely influential in establishing higher standards of food and service in Great Britain. So I had 50 passionate foodies around me, expecting a miracle… no pressure then!
As I was welcoming our guests to Le Manoir’s private dining room, La Belle Epoque, I asked them what they expected and wanted, and what subject would interest them most. Three times the same response: we want something extraordinary, insights into your life and, naturellement, the best food - NO less. Being a small Frenchman I felt under pressure to deliver!
The evening was warm and glowing. The tales and stories of Le Manoir flowed one into another. There was laughter, joy and wonderful food too, making the evening shine. Actually I was perhaps the happiest man of all, as my young team in the kitchen delivered one of the best meals I have ever eaten at Le Manoir; thank you to them all.
Like the tales of the unexpected, something extraordinary happened. Silence fell upon the ro0m… a guest was about to propose to his loved one. Dramatically, a large porcelain plate with a silver cloche was presented to the young lady. Her companion knelt down and, with great emotion and tears in his eyes, he presented his loved one with a beautiful diamond ring and promised to love her forever. Her answer? “Yes”, of course! What a delightful and heartwarming end to a wonderful evening.
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Raymond’s new book Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc was published on 14 February 2011 and is available from Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith and all good booksellers. Available at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons gift and bookstore, priced £25. Also available from Brasserie Blanc and Maison Blanc.
Watch Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets on BBC2, Mondays at 8.30pm.
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