Raymond Blanc’s appetite for sustainability began at a young age and as a teenager he developed a love of foraging. In 2012 he became president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and is now a Food Made Good Champion. Here he explains why sustainability matters to him and how he hopes food lovers and diners will take action too:
My passion for food began with my mother in my hometown of Besançon in Eastern France. Maman would send me off to the kitchen garden with strict instructions about what to pick or dig. As a teenager I used to forage like mad and would sell the frogs, asparagus and mushrooms. Then one day, after I had saved up the money, I went to eat at a little restaurant in a little town called Le Poker d’As and I even remember that I ate veal kidneys and drank half a bottle of Hermitage wine. What a joy! However it wasn’t until I was 19 that I knew I wanted to be a chef and even then I had to work as a cleaner in a restaurant first.
In the summer of 1972 I moved to England and became a waiter at the Rose Revived in Oxfordshire. My culinary journey really began when one day the chef was ill and I got my chance in the kitchen. In 1977 I opened Les Quat’Saisons in Summertown, Oxford which earned 2 Michelin Stars within 2 years. However I had always had a vision to create a hotel and restaurant in harmony. So in 1984 I opened Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, which I am proud to say is the only UK country house hotel to have retained 2 Michelin Stars for the past 30 years.
Throughout my more than 40 years I have always cared about the provenance of the food I serve, looking after my staff and the community and environment around me, so I was delighted to accept the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s offer to be its President.
I believe passionately that wherever you choose to eat out, whether in a fish and chip shop or Michelin-starred restaurant, a high street café or a chain restaurant, food should be afforded the value it deserves because it connects with our landscape, our soil, our heritage, our health and the kind of society we want to create for tomorrow.
British food and cuisine are already recognised as being amongst the best in the world. If we take the right steps now we can ensure this continues for generations to come. For this to work we need the support of you as a diner and that is why I am asking you to think about the restaurants you visit and the food you eat.
I hope that the Diner’s Guide will help you find Food Made Good near you.
You can also turn your passion for good food into action by joining our campaign to #MakeFoodGood and signing a simple pledge today.