In conversation with Raymond Blanc: The Michelin-Starred Chef Shares His Catering Secrets

London’s catering and events community gather annually for SquareMeal’s Venues & Events Live – to showcase, share and speak about the best and latest in the industry.

This year there was edible smoke (!) talks from famous chefs and cutting-edge marketeers and, most importantly, there was us. Prestige Venues & Events collaborated with Raymond Blanc OBE and The RHS to present Jardin Blanc – a gorgeous secret garden restaurant for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Launching Jardin Blanc, now in its third year, Raymond Blanc gave a live interview in front of an eager audience. Here, we share Raymond’s passion, his take on the events industry and some insider knowledge on Jardin Blanc 2018.

A MOVE FROM RESTAURANTS TO EVENTS…

Raymond’s work in the events world stems all the way back to his early days at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, his two Michelin starred restaurant and hotel in leafy Oxfordshire. When a client – be it corporate or private – hosts an event at Le Manoir, Raymond and his team are deeply involved in the details (calling himself a curator, rather than a manager). He takes his guests’ enjoyment very very seriously, and the team love hosting these intimate lunches, dinners, weddings and corporate events throughout the year.

This feeling of intimacy and personalisation is something Raymond Blanc’s team undoubtedly bring to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

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A peek inside Jardin Blanc at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

HIGH QUALITY, UP-SCALED

Raymond suggests that high quality hospitality is about knowing your guests, working with enthusiasm and, of course, an exceedingly capable team.

“At Jardin Blanc, guests are looking for so much more than just good catering, they want an experience. Guests no longer want a corporate environment, they want joy, fun, to feel well – and, alongside this, a better business environment, a social space where networking is a pleasure.

To make an operation like Jardin Blanc flourish you need to have a great team and a great plan. Every detail is critical to ensure the guest feels happy at every level. Your team need to be specialists and this comes from training – invest in your people if you want them to be completely confident, instil faith in the project and faith in themselves.”

Raymond also mentioned his partners – the RHS and Prestige Venues & Events – stating that each party brings something to the table, making the event bolder and better. Each are a great sources of support, with strong, matching values of ‘responsible luxury’.

FOOD TRENDS: TO LEAD OR FOLLOW

Raymond errs on the side of style rather than fashion.  With the ambition of creating modern classics, Raymond does, however, listen to modern guests’ changing wants and needs. Plus, there’s practicality too: for example, finger foods help guests move around whilst eating, creating a more convivial environment, whilst sharing dishes prompt interaction between guests at the table – providing a point of discussion for those who may never have met before.

Raymond wants the food at Jardin Blanc to enrich the experience, to give guests the adventure of tasting something they’ve never tried before.  This sense of childlike wonder extends to the entertainment too: “We have beautiful bars, sculptures, gardens, music, champagne and even garden swings for taking in the afternoon sun. And the dining rooms are tailored to a client who is looking for a beautiful yet relaxing space, forgetting the stress of everyday and bringing small delights throughout.”

“It’s a micro climate,” Raymond says, “a haven in Chelsea.”

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For more infomation on Jardin Blanc and their new packages for 2018, click here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Food-drink/Jardin-Blanc

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