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Raymond Blanc OBE presented with Legion d'Honneur

World famous French chef, Raymond Blanc OBE has been presented with the insignia of Chevalier in the Ordre national de Légion  d’Honneur, the highest French decoration, by M. Bernard Emié, French Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
 
For over 200 years the insignia has recognised outstanding services rendered by citizens to the French nation.  Last night, Raymond Blanc OBE received the insignia of Chevalier in the ministerial Order du Mérite agricole, for services to agriculture.
 
The Ordre national de Légion d’Honneur is the highest French Honour established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and the Order du Mérite agricole is an order of merit, which was established by Minister of Agriculture, Jules Meline in 1883.
 
Raymond Blanc, OBE was born in Besançon, rural France, but has lived in Britain for over 30 years.  Arriving in England in 1972, his illustrious career began at the Rose Revived restaurant, where he was working as a waiter when the chef at the time was taken ill.
 
Monsieur Blanc stepped in and the rest is culinary history.  Raymond Blanc opened his own restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton, Oxford in 1984 and after just one year, Le Manoir was named the “Egon Ronay Restaurant of the Year, proving Le Manoir’s motto that "The good does not interest us. The sublime does."
 
Today, Le Manoir is the only country house hotel in the UK, which has achieved and retained two Michelin stars for nearly 30 years. Raymond Blanc also runs cookery courses at Le Manoir and grows all his own organic vegetables and herbs, which are used in his restaurant.
 
In 2008 his quest for culinary perfection was recognised by the Queen when she awarded him an OBE.
 
His monumental influence on British cuisine - he has trained some 30 chefs who have gone on to be Michelin star winners - has brought him numerous awards, decades of critical praise, and glowing admiration from fellow professionals and food lovers.
 
In the 1990’s, he also launched Le Petit Blanc group of restaurants, with an aim to be the best within the brasserie scene in England. The group was later re-launched as Brasserie Blanc and 2013 has seen an opening of a total of 19 Brasserie Blanc restaurants all over the country.
 
In 2013, Blanc was also made Ambassador for Good Jobs in Food by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to encourage apprenticeships in the service industry and exponentially grow the number of newcomers to the industry as well as the reputation of this crucial part of the economy.
 
His television career has included a succession of phenomenally successful series, including most recently the Very Hungry Frenchman and Kitchen Secrets and in July, he launches a new series on the BBC, How to Cook Well.
 
He is an acclaimed, best-selling author – and you can read more of his memoirs in Taste of My Life published by Transworld.
 
Raymond’s philosophy is  simple: “My team and I aim to touch excellence in all that we do, and to smile often.”
Monsieur Blanc said: “I am both proud and delighted to be awarded this honour by my good friend Bernard Emié. “Being French, I of course have an innate joy and curiosity when it comes to food and cooking.  After all, wasn’t it in 2013 that UNESCO added France’s traditional gastronomic meal to the world’s intangible heritage list?  That was the first time that gastronomy had made it onto that list.  To me, the choice is totally tangible!
 
Having lived in Britain for so long, I have definitely learnt to laugh at myself more and I am so happy that I have managed to build my successful career whilst inspiring others – there is nothing that makes my heart fuller than teaching the new generation and spreading the joy of cooking.
 
I am proud beyond belief to be a Chevalier to my home country and accept the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur and the Ordre du Mérite agricole with joy and humility.”
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28 June 2013
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