Raymond Blanc attacks TV restaurant shows as disaster for catering industry

25 April 2006
Raymond Blanc attacks TV restaurant shows as disaster for catering industry

Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc has hit out at TV restaurant shows, describing them as a "disaster" for the catering industry.

The French restaurateur warned that youngsters could be put off training as chefs because of the impression given on TV.

He accused the programmes of undermining and damaging the catering industry.

Writing in Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine, Blanc said: "Today, we need to bring respect to our industry. Of course, we are not helped in this respect by certain programmes on television which do us a great disservice.

"The onscreen impression of what happens inside a restaurant is a disaster for us. It strips people of dignity and promotes abuse.

"Yet we have eight million morons watching these programmes. The brains of the British have gone soft. We have become voyeuristic; we love sensation, extreme situations and the degradation of people."

Blanc, chef patron of the two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, does not specify which TV food shows in particular he finds offensive.

But he continues: "Do these shows teach you about training or man-management? Of course not. They undermine our industry, do huge damage, and promote and perpetuate a terrible image.

"Having seen such programmes, would you send your child into the restaurant business? How are we going to encourage young creative people to become chefs if the image of catering promoted by television is one of violence and humiliation?"

Mr Blanc concludes that "incredible changes" are happening in the food industry.

"At last we are connecting with our food culture and training is at the centre of this. But any progress is being undermined by the TV portrayal of our business," he writes.

"But it will not stop the crusade of myself and many others to bring respectability to our profession."

The May edition of Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine is available from Thursday.

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By Louise Barnett, PA Consumer Affairs Correspondent

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