Raymond Blanc - il est magnifique! Honestly, the man was amazing. He talked us through three recipes - fricassee of wild mushrooms, duck breast with chestnut and tamarind, and a chocolate fondant pudding. We got to taste the food at the end, and it lived up to all expectations. I'm not keen on duck normally, but that one was fantastic, with the sweetish sauce.

The enthusiasm of the man for food was what surprised me most (not surprisingly he had a go at the government for their new calorie-counter proposals) and his ability to work a crowd and convey that enthusiasm. It was also interesting to see the speed at which he worked, and the use that he made of his assistant, Nurden, who did a lot of the constant stirring and keeping an eye on things, taking orders in a mixture of english and french. Top marks to Fenwicks for enticing Raymond up here to talk to the masses. I'm now such a fan that I want to go and eat at Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons. My bank account may not be too happy about this....


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