I think most people with a keen interest in incredible food and hospitality are aware of Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir and its reputation. They’ve churned out over 30 michelin starred chefs, had two Michelin stars themselves since 1981 and their organic certified kitchen gardens are legendary. I was very excited to finally get to go and visit. Helped by a sunny day the hotel and grounds looked stunning. Executive Chef ‘Gary Jones’ was generous with his time, chatting freely and took the time to take me on a tour of the gardens and poly tunnels where his enthusiasm and knowledge and happiness to share his thoughts and experiences typified the generosity of so many who work in hospitality.
Gary has had a fascinating history, from working at Le Manoir on two separate occasions, most recently for 21 years, to working for Richard Branson on Necker Island and having received Michelin Star accolades from scratch at two other venues. He’s also a black belt in karate, practises yoga and is a busy Dad to 3 teenage daughters.
Our chat meanders from Gary’s own kitchen garden hunting snails by torch light at 1am, to the symbiotic relationship with his team and the garden team at le Manoir, to the change in diets and using less butter and cream in the kitchens, a great story about how Gary ended up working on Necker Island and even the ‘genius’ of Raymond Blanc, or RB as he’s known, and the contrasting skills they both bring to the kitchen and development of so many of the world’s best chefs.