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Raymond Blanc O.B.E.

Raymond Blanc is acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. Completely self-taught, his influence on gastronomy has been so great that he is the only chef to have been honoured with both an OBE from Britain and the equivalent of a knighthood from France.


About Raymond Blanc

Raymond Blanc was born in 1949 near Besançon, in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, between Burgundy and the Jura mountains.

Like most teenagers, Raymond was unsure about what his future career should be. It was a time when teachers decided your future – especially if your parents were working class. They decreed that Raymond should be a draughtsman… but it didn’t go well because he hated drawing straight lines; at least it taught him that he was creative.

One evening, he was walking past a restaurant called Le Palais de la Bière. Through the window, he saw what he regarded as an extraordinary ballet;

The waiters were flambé-ing crêpes Suzette in a pool of light, wearing handsome Bordeaux jackets with shiny epaulettes. In that second, his life was decided.

He wanted to create those moments. He wanted to help people by bringing beauty and theatre and celebration into people’s lives. He wanted to be a chef!

In the 1970s, barely speaking a word of English, Raymond emigrated to Britain and became a waiter at an Oxfordshire pub called The Rose Revived. One day, when the chef was ill, Raymond volunteered to take over the kitchen. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Raymond soon opened his first restaurant - Les Quat’Saisons - the four seasons. It was in Oxford, on the site of a former Greek taverna – a humble building sandwiched between the Oxfam shop and a store selling women’s woollen lingerie.

The restaurant had a tiny kitchen with a corrugated iron roof. It had a 1956 oven with no bottom to it and a 1962 Kenwood mixer.

But Raymond was full of ambition and longed to realise his next dream; being Chef Patron of a small country house restaurant with a huge potager kitchen garden and perhaps a few rooms for friends to stay in.

One day, in 1983, he was reading a magazine when he spotted a country manor house for sale in Great Milton village, just outside Oxford. It was far more expensive than he could ever afford, and was much bigger than he was looking for, but he had fallen in love with the place already. The manor house looked broken and in need of gutting throughout; in fact, it was on the verge of being sold to be dismantled into flats. But Raymond loved the grand drive, the yellow Oxford stone, the gardens on different levels, the tall Elizabethan chimneys...He knew he had to buy it.

When he went to see the property, he was met by the recently widowed Lady Cromwell. Raymond announced that he wanted to buy her house. She looked at the young man at her door, thinking he was having a joke, but when he told her his name, her eyes lit up and she ushered him in. By a lucky coincidence, Lady Cromwell had enjoyed a wonderful meal at Les Quat’Saisons only a few weeks before. She was overjoyed with Raymond’s plans for turning the house into a stunning restaurant with gardens.

With the help of many loyal friends and regular customers – and Lady Cromwell herself – Raymond managed to raise enough money to buy the manor house and he named it Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – the house of four seasons. Le Manoir became the quintessential English country house with a very French heart.

Today, Blanc continues to be the Chef Patron at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, the acclaimed hotel-restaurant in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, England. The restaurant has held two Michelin stars for an astounding 37 years and scored 9/10 in the Good Food Guide. It also hosts the famous Raymond Blanc Cookery School.

Raymond Blanc Recipes

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Comte Cheese and Chard Tart by Raymond Blanc

"This dish is a tribute to the magnificent region of France where I come from. Comté is one of the finest cheeses in the world and it can be used in so many dishes." - Raymond Blanc MBE - TV Chef & Author

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Apple Sorbet Millefeuille by Raymond Blanc

This is such a simple dessert that has serious wow factor. Delicate in flavour and appearance, it can be served as a little pre dessert at your dinner party or as a light mid-week treat. Make sure you put your Kenwood freezer bowl in the deep freeze the night before you are planning to make the sorbet. The sorbet will last for one day - beyond that, ice crystals will begin to form and you will lose that beautifully soft, melting texture.

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Floating Islands 'Maman Blanc' by Raymond Blanc

This is one of the most celebrated desserts in France - a true classic and one I cherish from my childhood. Maman Blanc used to make this for the family on special occasions.

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Gateau a la Crème by Raymond Blanc

Rustic, rich and heavenly, this is very much a dessert from my childhood and one Maman Blanc would occasionally treat us to on a Sunday. The proof is in the proving…but you need a little hard work to knead and develop the gluten in the flour which gives you that lift, lightness and beauty. This recipe uses Kenwood’s dough hook attachment which is the only dough hook I have used where it presses and actually kneads the dough into the side of the bowl, rather than clinging onto the hook and spinning around doing nothing.

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Ricotta Agnolotti, Pumpkin Purée And Ceps by Raymond Blanc

This beautiful dish reminds me of my childhood; those crisp autumn mornings when my father would take me foraging for mushrooms in the woods. The agnolotti with its creamy ricotta filling provides a lovely acidic burst which goes so well with the pumpkin purée and sautéed ceps. This dish is a true celebration of autumn.

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Salmon Fishcakes with Lemon Mayonnaise by Raymond Blanc

One of the great comfort dishes, fishcakes are a must for every home cook’s repertoire. They're easy to create, fun to make and, ultimately, more rewarding than their supermarket equivalent. The lemon mayonnaise is the perfect condiment. It isn't a challenge and can be whisked up in just a few moments with the help of your Kenwood.

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Sausage Cassoulet by Raymond Blanc

This flavourful cassoulet can be served as it is, or with creamy potato purée, or with sautéed potatoes and wilted spinach. It’s the perfect dish to use up those homemade sausages from Raymond’s recipe

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Simple Fish Soup by Raymond Blanc

A recipe from Raymond’s childhood, his fish soup is an aromatic and flavoursome dish like no other. This recipe calls for fish bones, which can be any rock fish bones, such as gurnard, red mullet or even prawn heads and shells

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Thai Green Chicken Curry by Raymond Blanc

People tell me they don’t make Thai curry because of the effort required to pound each ingredient into a paste with a pestle and mortar. Problem solved! Here, I’ve created a delicious recipe that takes all the effort out of this process – thanks to the Kenwood Mini Chopper/ Mill Chef attachment

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Winter Vegetable Soup by Raymond Blanc

This soup is easy, economical, fun and rewarding; with just a few seasonal ingredients and 10 minutes of your time, you can whip up a deliciously hearty soup with heaps of flavour. This recipe is just the way Raymond’s Maman used to make it (with gorgeous vegetables grown by his father)

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