The two-Michelin-starred chef and 2009 Lifetime Achievement Catey award-winner Raymond Blanc was on sparkling form yesterday as he threw a lavish party at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons to celebrate the hotel’s silver anniversary.
Around two hundred guests were treated to a piano recital on Le Manoir’s impeccable lawns, and then joined in on a rendition of La Marseillaise to mark Bastille Day, before the formal speeches began. Sensing a lack of Gallic gusto in our singing, Raymond ordered a second rendition - this time with all guests holding clenched fists to their hearts - which he led rousingly from the stage. Fantastic.
The French Ambassador spoke first, and named Raymond as one of only three people, along with the French President and the Queen, with the power to pull him away from official duties at his London residence on Bastille Day. Paul White, President and CEO of Orient-Express, then paid tribute to Raymond’s success, recalling how he had seen the French chef’s star rising over the years, through the pages of Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
Before speaking to his guests, Raymond welcomed every member of his 203-strong team onto the lawn. Then, at the climax of a typically impassioned and heartfelt speech, he brandished his Catey and dedicated it to them all.
Tartare of Scottish langoustine, flavours of Japan
Salad of heirloom tomato, Kalamata olive, Sicilian tomato essence sorbet
Confit of wild River Severn salmon, elderflower, yuzu cream, garden radish
Mr Ring’s “Bury Hook” lamb, braised fennel, coco beans, aubergine puree
Pochaed peach in white wine and citrus fruits, black figs filled with a port ice-cream