cold.jpgChef-restaurateur Raymond Blanc’s famous country hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, was evacuated earlier this week when ventilation equipment above the kitchens caught fire.
Fire crews were called to the hotel and double Michelin-starred restaurant in Great Milton at lunchtime on Monday, when smoke tripped the fire alarms. I was at the hotel at the time, interviewing Raymond Blanc – when the alarm went off, Raymond was leading me on a guided tour of Le Manoir’s grounds. He had shown the good sense to don an overcoat and scarf; I had come out without a coat, as usual.
Hotel guests, lunchers and staff poured out onto the lawn – paying customers on the gravel path to save their high heels and expensive brogues, kitchen brigade on the lawn in their clogs. “We must thank God it is not raining”, Raymond told his guests.
It may not have been raining, but the day was bitterly cold. Determined to conclude our interview, Raymond pulled his scarf from around his neck and used it to mop the rain water off two cast-iron garden chairs that were shaded from the winter sun by a giant old tree. We sat down and cracked on, though soon I was so cold that I could barely grip my pen, let alone force it to move across my notepad.
Provided I can decipher my notes, I’ll be putting together a major article on Raymond’s plans for Le Manoir in the new year.