A Royal Day at Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot. Regal, elegant and an event steeped in history!
Yesterday was the day! Up at 6am and on the train for 7.30am dressed in my morning suite and ready to attend The Gold Cup at Royal Ascot (Ladies Day). Even more unusual for a Frenchman to follow such wonderful British formalities – my top hat was slightly too large and my trousers a little too big! I must have lost weight from all of the running around I have been doing filming at Kew. Before I could have my second espresso, my team had organised interviews and chef photos which were to take place in the parade ring, in the great company of Tom Kerridge, Atul Kochhar and a host of other wonderful and talented chefs. I felt like a prize winner being paraded around this ring and felt honoured to know that this is where the Queen would traditionally present the Gold Cup awards in a few hours’ time.
[Photo: Ascot Chefs Gemma Amor, Tom Kerridge, Atul Kochhar, Raymond Blanc, guest, Guy Krenger and Steve Golding pose during day three of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2014 in Ascot, England.]
I had teamed up with high society caterers “rhubarb” to create luxurious gastronomic hospitality packages at this year's Royal Ascot inspired by my kitchen and gardens of Belmond Le Manoir.
Today was the day I could meet with my guests who combined their passion for a flutter at the races and their journey of culinary delight, prepared by me and my team.
Wow ladies, you all looked beautiful and elegant – Parfait.
The formalities of the day are many, but for me it was not all about glitz and glamour of the fashion world. It was an opportunity for me to focus on our luxurious hospitality box offer and the guests who would be enjoying my menus for the day. They started with a selection of beautiful canapés, such as tuna with soy lime jelly and goat curd with oat biscuit, honey and black olive crumb. Delicious. This was followed by my four course lunch menu with some of my favourite signature dishes including tomato essence, Cornish crab salad with grapefruit and celery, and roast rack of lamb with potato gratin and minted peas. Finished with a perfect light and fresh summer dessert, exotic fruit raviole with a coconut lime leaf jus.
It is so important for me to make sure my guests were happy and being looked after by my dedicated team as their horses raced across the line. My talented development chefs Adam and Ben were running the kitchens with precision and ease and it was wonderful to see them in their element.
After lunch, an extended cocktail hour and all the action of the races was enjoyed from the premium viewing platform, followed later by my carefully considered afternoon tea. Delicate finger sandwiches included smoked salmon with cucumber and dill on toasted rye bread, rare roast beef with celeriac remoulade, and brie with apricot and Jura chutney. Mini scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream were a favourite, and there was an assortment of delightful patisseries and macaroons, including my very own chocolate delice and pear & walnut dacquoise. What a way to end the day.
A couple more races and it was carriages home for the guests. I myself enjoyed a train journey full of smiles and singing and even a request for me to sing my beloved Marseillaise. I politely declined… I am a showman, but I'm not sure my voice was up to the challenge.
An elegant affair. Topped off with an appearance by the Queen. British tradition with a gastronomic twist. What a day.
To see more of my Royal Ascot photos, please visit my facebook page: http://bit.ly/RB_Facebook