A Passion for Seasonality
He is known globally for his passion for seasonal, organic produce. And two decades ago Raymond was championing sustainability, long before it was a widely discussed issue. As he points out, using seasonal produce means better tastes, textures and flavours, and the produce is inexpensive. Plus, seasonal food makes us feel better.
"Good nutrition is uncomplicated," he says. "It is a varied diet of fresh seasonal ingredients cooked simply. No more, no less. We must understand that every molecule of food we eat has a short- and long-term effect on us, positive or negative. All we need to do is reconnect with the simple craft of cooking and show our children how our food is grown, and I’m happy to say we are starting to make more responsible choices, and the regions are being reborn.
"Allotments, which were once the vegetable gardens of the lower classes, today have seven-year-long waiting lists."
When sourcing food for his restaurant at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, he makes sure he knows everything about its provenance. For example, he can tell guests which cows provided the milk for their breakfast.
With his dedicated gardeners, he has cultivated herb beds in which 70 varieties thrive, including exotics such as Vietnamese mint or lemongrass. There is a two-acre vegetable garden producing over 90 types of vegetable, a mushroom garden with around 20 edible species, and an orchard.
Raymond follows an ethical approach to cooking, with a focus on energy efficiency and recycling. Le Manoir is viewed by many in the hotel and restaurant industry as the model to which to aspire.