The world-famous Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is taking on two Oxfordshire County Council school chefs as part of the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) national Host a School Chef initiative.
The Host a School Chef programme allows education caterers to spend a day working in some of the finest restaurants in the country alongside some of the most celebrated chefs. Originally part of LACA’s National School Meals Week, the popular event soon became a year-round event. This year, the initiative is being sponsored by Alaska Seafood.
Jill Hall from Trinity Primary School in Henley-on-Thames, and Debbie Rice from North Kidlington School in Kidlington, will both spend the day demonstrating their culinary skills alongside executive head chef Gary Jones and his team in late August.
Belmond Le Manoir has held two Michelin Stars since chef patron Raymond Blanc OBE and Chevalier in the Ordre National de La Légion d’Honneur – France’s highest decoration and the equivalent of a knighthood in the UK – opened its doors opened in 1984.
“It is an amazing opportunity for two of our school chefs to have the experience of working in the world class catering environment of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons,” says Gail Witchell, Oxfordshire CC’s catering services lead. “A huge thank you to Belmond Le Manoir’s executive head chef Gary Jones for extending the invitation to us, it is very much appreciated and demonstrates just how inclusive the catering industry in this country is. I am sure that Jill and Debbie will have a wonderful time and will fly the flag for Oxfordshire CC’s Catering team.”
“We are very happy to be involved in LACA’s Host a School Chef and think it is an excellent initiative,” says Gary Jones, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons executive head chef. “Catering is a broad church and no matter the sector in which you are operating, it is important for your guests to have the best experience. The most satisfying thing for any caterer is to see empty plates at the end of the meal and let’s face it, nothing is more important than seeing that our children are eating healthy, nourishing and tasty meals on a daily basis. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons looks forward to welcoming Jill and Debbie and giving them a day to enjoy and remember.”
“It is a fantastic endorsement of LACA’s Host a School Chef programme to include such an outstanding venue as Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons amongst our number this year,” says Neil Porter, LACA chair of events. “Raymond Blanc is widely regarded as one of the world’s great chefs and what he has created at Le Manoir is without parallel. He is completely self-taught, which is even more amazing and will resonate with many of the people that work in education catering.
“Host a School Chef is now a year-round initiative thanks to our sponsors Alaska Seafood, with many top-class venues already hosting school chefs since the early part of this year. This latest announcement takes us to another level and LACA extends its thanks to chef patron Raymond Blanc, executive head chef Gary Jones and everyone involved at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for making it possible.”