Alain Desenclos, restaurant director at the Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire, has retired from the two-Michelin-starred restaurant after more than three decades of working with Raymond Blanc.
To celebrate Desenclos's career, Blanc welcomed 100 friends and industry professionals to Le Manoir last Wednesday (25 August) including fellow front-of-house heavyweights Silvano Giraldin, the former restaurant director of Le Gavroche, David Moore, owner of Pied à Terre and L'Autre Pied, Diego Masciaga of the Waterside Inn, and Gérard Basset of Hotel TerraVina.
Blanc and Desenclos(pictured, centre) have been working together for 34 years - they first met at La Sorbonne where Blanc was a young commis, before working together at Les Quat'Saisons from 1979 and opening Le Manoir together in 1984.
Over the years Desenclos has nurtured and inspired a great number of front-of-house staff into management positions. He was recently inducted into the Academy of Food and Wine Service Skills Hall of Fame as one of the Great Restaurant Managers in the UK.
Desenclos will be replaced as restaurant director by Mourad Ben Tekfa, who has worked at Le Manoir for 16 years.
Although he will retire from the day-to-day running of the property, Desenclos will continue to be involved in a new role of consultant and ambassador. Blanc is helping him to set up a consultancy company on wine, service and stock control.
Desenclos said it had been an honour and privilege to work alongside Blanc for the past three decades. "I shall miss Le Manoir terribly but I am looking forward to continue to oversee the development of the exceptionally high standards at Le Manoir and also to starting my own new adventures."
Blanc praised Desenclos's unwavering commitment to Le Manoir over the past 26 years. "He knows each of our guests, their likes and dislikes and through the years has unfailingly given them the best hospitality," he said.
By Kerstin Kühn
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