That’s right ladies and gents, we had the chance to discuss with Raymond Blanc to celebrate the launch of his innovative pots and pans collection in House of Fraser. Discover everything here from his menu inspirations to his opinion on malt vinegar…
You’ve been living in the UK for over 35 years now, what made you decide to leave France for the UK?
I was a waiter in France and, in a flash, a chef smashed a frying pan across my face. He was sick of hearing my thoughts and suggestions about his dishes. He broke my jaw and I lost a tooth. But because of that incident, the restaurant owner felt sorry for me and he found me another job… on this side of the Channel. Eventually, I became a chef. And I used my frying pan in the way it was intended.
Where do you take your inspiration when creating your menu?
I always work with the seasons. At Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons my chefs and I work closely with the garden team to find the best varieties. We carry out our own trials to determine the best flavours. Our growing season is extended with the use of polytunnels. For example, come to Le Manoir today and you will see that we are growing 34 organic varieties of carrots. We source most of our produce from local, artisan producers.
We are very fond of your new collection of cast aluminium and hard anodized pans – do you use them in your own restaurant?
|Raymond Blanc||Raymond Blanc|
Indeed, we use them in the main kitchen at Le Manoir and in The Raymond Blanc Cookery. The main reason I even started to design cookware with Meyer was because I absolutely loved their hard anodized cookware. In my opinion it was and still is the best quality cookware available to buy. In fact, I don’t put my name to anything that I wouldn’t use myself.
What are the differences between hard anodized pans and cast aluminium ones? What are the benefits?
In many ways the two ranges are very similar. Both are induction compatible, have excellent non-stick performance, can be cleaned in the dishwasher and have a lifetime guarantee to prove what good quality they are. It will come down to personal preference of the consumer as to whether they choose the light-weight which is fantastic for taking straight from the oven to the table, or the solid feel of the Hard Anodized cookware. Customers love to pick up cookware, feel the weight and look at the design and make their choice from here. The performance of each range is equally impressive.
What essentials do you think every kitchen should have in terms of pans, accessories and appliances?
A food probe for testing food temperatures during cooking, an oven thermometer and a timer. I particularly like to have Meyer’s straight-sided omelette pan. Knives are an essential part of any kitchen and there are three that will cover virtually every job; a small parer knife for fiddly jobs, a utility knife for slicing meat and vegetables, then the hugely versatile Chef’s knife for everything else. Of course different sized saucepans, but I particularly like the chef’s pan, which is a cross between a skillet and a stir fry.
Is there any food you can’t bear to eat?
When I first came to England – in fact, as I crossed the Channel on the ferry – I ordered the famous fish and chips. It came with malt vinegar, which was so harsh in its smell that I recoiled. To this day I find malt vinegar is an assault on the senses.
You can cook your final dish. What is it?
First, I take one of my beautiful new covered casserole dishes from the new Cast Aluminium range and then I create the most beautiful boeuf bourguignon – made with a deep, rich red from the Languedoc region of France. I’d enjoy its true succulence with a glass or two of Gevrey-Chambertin. My God, at that moment I will be in heaven before I am officially in heaven!