Raymond Blanc welcomed two Oxfordshire school chefs into his kitchens at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons for a day as they prepared for the start of new school year.
Executive chef Gary Jones invited Jill Hall and Debbie Rice to work alongside his brigade as part of LACA’s national Host a School Chef initiative, which encourages fine dining restaurants to offer school chefs the chance to spend the day working alongside some of the most celebrated chefs in the industry.
Hall, who works at Trinity Primary School in Henley-on-Thames, said she and Rice considered the opportunity the highlight of their catering careers.
“To take part in the operation for the day was a privilege and everyone was so helpful and inclusive,” she continued.
“The icing on the cake for me was during our tour of the herb and vegetable gardens. I mentioned to Gary that we have a ‘growing club’ at Trinity Primary where the children grow their own produce for use in the school kitchen. I now have an open invitation to visit Belmond Le Manoir with my ‘growing club’ where Gary is going to take them on a tour of the gardens and enjoy a picnic – absolutely incredible.”
Rice, from North Kidlington School, added: “It was a terrific insight into the world of haute cuisine and I have picked up lots of tips and ideas to take back to school with me.”
Jones also commented: “It was a pleasure to host Jill and Debbie and for them to work with the team here at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. They enjoyed their day and it is good to share knowledge and experiences across all sectors of this wonderful industry.”