Working with a master
This post was created by Chris Bray, CEO Sports and Leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland.
This summer, we are proud to be working with world-famous gourmet chef Raymond Blanc OBE as he lends his culinary talents to two of the UK’s most prestigious events; Royal Ascot and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – creating sumptuous dining experiences combining the best of English tradition and global artistry.
Raymond Blanc’s career spans more than three decades at the top of his profession. The self-taught and self-made Frenchman has won hearts and awards with a universality and prolificacy that most of his contemporaries can only dream of.
This year, together with Raymond and his team we will be running the showpiece Panoramic Restaurant at Ascot during the week of the Royal Meeting.
“Food should be at the heart of every kind of celebration and especially so at Royal Ascot. Seasonality is crucial to me and local producers must always be used when we can.” Raymond Blanc
Another obsession is service, or, as a point of emphasis, flawless service.
The chefs, front of house staff and the managers will all be trained at the Ascot Academy. A select group of young people will take part in an intensive two-day training programme at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons to ensure service standards are at their absolute highest.
“To eat good food is important, but it’s the service that gives that extraordinary element to what is on the plate.” Raymond Blanc
Raymond’s link-up with Royal Ascot will create a legacy that will run far longer and deeper than the spectacular experience on offer at the Panoramic over the five days in June.
We will also be working with Raymond this week as the quirky and spectacular Jardin Blanc takes its place at 2016’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Throughout, the Sodexo designed, Jardin Blanc, Raymond’s vision shines through, with walls of edible herbs, trellises heavy with blooms and benches where guests find themselves suddenly serenaded by jovial words from the great chef himself. Every element of the design is intended to create a truly unique atmosphere and to bring a smile to the face of each and every visitor.
With an ethos of elegance and warmth as its defining characteristic, the totally bespoke culinary offering includes indoor and outdoor dining areas for drinks, meals and canapés, and a fabulous bar where top mixologist JJ Goodman of the London Cocktail Club has created cocktails to perfectly complement the quirky, playful surrounds.
“Food is all about sharing – here you are not a customer, you are a guest and a friend” Raymond Blanc
“In any people-based event the hospitality must be the best,” Raymond says with certainty. “And we and Sodexo are at the top in terms of hospitality… The whole team is fantastic, and it’s all about the teamwork, which is really what I enjoy the most about the whole experience – the collaboration between the RHS and all the other partners to create an event which is going to be truly magnificent. The RHS shines worldwide as an institution, and then Sodexo is the expert when it comes to organising and making the best events with the greatest logistics and support – and without the two together, this would have been quite impossible.”
You can keep up to date with all our events this summer on twitter by following our Venue’s & Events twitter account.