Two Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc held a summer soiree promotional evening at his Brasserie Blanc restaurant in Beaconsfield on 12 July.
On offer was a four course meal, Prosecco, and Raymond regaling his guests with tales of Brexit, the World Cup and of course food!
While talking to Raymond before dinner he spoke passionately about how his tough working-class upbringing gave him an appreciation of local and seasonal produce.
“I was a hunter-gatherer from the age of 7 – I knew my forest,” Raymond recalled, adding, “seasonality is everything to me – it's in my DNA.”
Having lived and worked in the UK for around half a century, Raymond is uniquely placed to assess how the food scene has evolved here.
“It's like the sky which is rainy and grey and low and dark and now you see that beautiful blue sky,” he said of the contrast between British food now and when he first arrived on our shores, describing the current scene as “exciting and dynamic.”
The meal began with the surpringly refreshing 'Tomato Essence'. A cool, watery offering served in a glass, with juices extracted from cherry tomatoes.
The starter was glazed mackerel with a coleslaw and seaweed salad. The delicately handled white flesh contrasting with a crispy skin was the perfect opener and would prove to be the star of the show, at least for this diner.
The main offered a choice of guinea fowl in a citrus sauce or a harissa glazed aubergine with baba-ganoush.
I opted for the guinea fowl which was beautifully cooked but there was a moment of self-doubt regarding my choice when I heard the reviews of the aubergine coming from across the table – that is until I sampled the sensational potato parcels that accompanied the protein on my plate!
Dessert was a deliciously sweet yet palette cleansing raspberry and strawberry sorbet with a coulis and champagne jus.
During dinner a musician had been playing acoustic guitar with a distictively French flavour but as coffee was served Raymond took the microphone and answered questions from his guests. Short answers are not Raymond's style and he was still spinning yarns to the delight of the crowd as I left for home.