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Raymond and Oli Blanc webchat 3 February

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KatGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 20-Jan-14 11:53:34

Entirely self taught, Raymond Blanc is now one of the world's leading chefs. He has brought his passion for exquisite French cuisine to the UK and has a number of restaurants across the country including his famous two Michelin starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

Raymond's son, Olivier Blanc, was educated at Millfield School before reading English at Leeds University. He went straight into working in television and film as a runner before becoming an assistant director. He then went to New York and completed a director's course at the New York Film Academy. Once back in the UK he returned briefly to television and film before completing an actor's course at Drama Studio London. Olivier continued to act for five years working primarily in television and theatre. He then began to create the Henri Le Worm story world and characters, as a hobby which soon became an all consuming job.

Henri le Worm and his Amazing Cooking Adventures is a series of interactive apps that encourage children and adults alike to connect with food and nature in a positive and playful way. The App is the brain child of Raymond Blanc;s son Oli and his talented business partner the actress Charlotte Salt. The user is immersed in a magical world of fantastic bugs and insects voiced by Simon Pegg. Raymond Blanc has developed the recipes within the app which deliver easy, fun and nutritious meals for the family to enjoy.

Put your questions forward to Raymond and Oli here - they'll be joining us on Monday 3 February 3-4pm.

cinnamonstix Mon 20-Jan-14 11:57:18

Hi. Can you recommend any French recipes that's 1) easy to cook at home 2) that would be a good to introduction to French foods for children?

Brabant Fri 24-Jan-14 12:16:34

French women don't get fat....... er, well I became French in 2009 but I am still inclined to put on weight! Sigh. I live most of the time in France and revel in stunning food from even the most basic local resto. Is Henri le Worm up for a few weight control tips without dishing the salt butter and wine?

granjura Sun 26-Jan-14 11:53:36

Bonjour Raymond et Olivier et Bonne Année de Franche-Comté.
I live near Pontarlier but was in the UK for nearly 40 years- and was always interested in your use of local products from the Jura. Could you tell me what your favourite local French 'terroir' products from the Franche-Comté area of your birth you truly love.

Meilleures salutations Odile

cheesepuff Mon 27-Jan-14 13:01:43

How are you finding working together? Are you going to be a dynasty like the Rouxs?

dorish Mon 27-Jan-14 15:09:04

Very tempted to get the app but can you give me an idea of the sort of recipes it contains?

dorish Mon 27-Jan-14 15:13:19

Also if I am permitted a second question

We are always told that the French have a very dim view of British food. Is this really true and is it changing? I think things are pretty good here now

granjura Mon 27-Jan-14 17:43:41

By the way, whenever I go to Besançon, I always look around for your mum Raymond. Saying that women in France to not get fat- as you know there are plenty of big women in rural Franche-Comté smile But your mum is so small and petite- and I'm sure I'd recognize her if I met her smile

granjura Tue 28-Jan-14 12:11:36

Made me smile recently to see that 'saucisse de Morteau' a local produce, is becoming fashionable in the UK. First came about it at Hambleton Hall, a few years ago- and we really laughed as it was served to us as a very fancy starter, with lentils, toast and a balsamic reduction- but also a a small café we visit in Leicester, Mrs Bridge's, where one of my ex students is the Chef (taught French). Do you use 'saucisse de Morteau' yourself?

somewherehot Tue 28-Jan-14 14:52:53

Can I ask what, in your view, are the best English dishes? Also, when I was (much) younger and a teenager, I stayed with a French family for a couple of weeks to learn French. The contrast between the mother's omelette and my own mother's was incredible - i don't really even like eggs, but she just made it taste so wonderful (sorry mum!). How do French people do this?!!

iMac Tue 28-Jan-14 16:50:25

What do you both make of Ludo Lefebvre as a judge on The Taste? Would you be interested in judging in the next series?

bethannie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:41:46

The Restaurant was one of my favourite TV programmes. Will it ever come back do you think? Did you enjoy being a judge?

nicky68 Tue 28-Jan-14 17:43:21

Hi Raymond. My husband has promised that one day he will take me to Le Manoir. I am dying to do - it looks amazing - but I am quite fussy and scared that the food will be too fancy for me. Can you reassure me before he changes his mind and takes me to Pizza Hut instead?

granjura Tue 28-Jan-14 19:07:49

Great post Nicky. I've been dreaming of going ever since it was open- but I know I'd be so disappointed if I don't get a chance for a good chat about our common native area. So Raymon, what chance of ever actually meeting you when going to the Manoir when we next visit the UK?

chelsss Thu 30-Jan-14 17:11:16

Who came up with the name 'Henri Le Worm' ? Oli or Charlotte?

rosesarered Fri 31-Jan-14 14:52:55

Hello,
my 8 yr old Grandson is autistic and obsessed with worms; as in, he loves them, and I have to make up 'worm stories' all the time.So, they are a family who live in my garden, parents and 2 children. Daddy worm is very brave and likes having dangerous adventures. Am running out of steam with them though, so what you have created is 'just the job'!
Because Grandson doesn't eat much , do you have a very simple easy to eat recipe [no lumps or much chewing needed] that I could make for his supper. He likes strong flavours. Thank you.

wolfie Mon 03-Feb-14 10:43:23

Following on from chelsss' question I wondered why a worm? I have never thought of worms as gastronomic experts although in this I may be quite wrong grin

CaffeineAddict Mon 03-Feb-14 13:01:40

Hi Raymond and Oli. Who is your favourite chef?

Hearmeroar Mon 03-Feb-14 13:09:22

Your tweet about the Great British Back Off where you said, “The Great British Bake Off. Not much skills, female tears and a winner so thin who makes me doubt of her love for great cooking, baking.” - did you expect to receive the reaction you did? Do you think your comment was slightly misogynistic?

Marthamuffin Mon 03-Feb-14 13:25:55

Raymond I am interested to know how you got your kids cooking? Also curious to know at what stage to give them new tasks (cutting) and to let them near hot pans?

Galen Mon 03-Feb-14 13:35:02

I adore French cooking. Have you a good recipe for a sauce Robert as it's one of my favourites.

granjura Mon 03-Feb-14 14:20:00

Raymond- we are having a discussion about the school lunches in the UK. Considering Jamie's study of those school lunches- what do you think about the issue? Should strict school uniform be more important than healthy food- from a French point of view?

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 03-Feb-14 15:00:41

Delighted that Raymond and Oli are here and ready to answer your questions - so without further ado... Was going to write the next bit in French but I think has been too long since my schooldays...so...er - over to them!

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:05:42

cinnamonstix

Hi. Can you recommend any French recipes that's 1) easy to cook at home 2) that would be a good to introduction to French foods for children?

So pancakes stuffed with spinach gratinated with comte cheese - delicious. It's a fantastic recipe as your child can make the pancake mix and chop the spinach (under supervision!) and the roll the pancake with the filling. It will be the next recipe going on the app so this is a preview!

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:07:44

Brabant

French women don't get fat....... er, well I became French in 2009 but I am still inclined to put on weight! Sigh. I live most of the time in France and revel in stunning food from even the most basic local resto. Is Henri le Worm up for a few weight control tips without dishing the salt butter and wine?

One glass a wine a day is better than six! Again, butter - just use a little and most important, do not eat after 7-o-clock in the evening. That's a big tip because most people eat more at night and that's when you put the weight on. Be aware of your snacks as well.

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:09:24

granjura

Bonjour Raymond et Olivier et Bonne Année de Franche-Comté.
I live near Pontarlier but was in the UK for nearly 40 years- and was always interested in your use of local products from the Jura. Could you tell me what your favourite local French 'terroir' products from the Franche-Comté area of your birth you truly love.

Meilleures salutations Odile

At least I've got three saucisse de Morteau and my sons do as well - Oli is a Saucisse de Morteau fan!

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:10:06

cheesepuff

How are you finding working together? Are you going to be a dynasty like the Rouxs?

Oh no - nothing like that, but I'm extremely proud of what Olivier's done with his app. It really connects children with food, the garden and cooking.

glassofwater Mon 03-Feb-14 15:11:33

What do you think about Heston's outbreak of the vomiting virus across his restaurants? Is this a common thing to happen to restaurants?

OliBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:12:29

dorish

Also if I am permitted a second question

We are always told that the French have a very dim view of British food. Is this really true and is it changing? I think things are pretty good here now

We've been very fortunate to have Raymond (Pops) work on the recipes for the app. With this in mind, the dishes are all seasonal, healthy, and are easy to make. The reason for this is that we want children to participate in the cooking with their parents and to enjoy the same food as their parents so we've created dishes they can all enjoy together. An example of a dish would be grilled peaches with vanilla.

Bonjour Mon 03-Feb-14 15:13:58

Bonjour Raymond!

Je me pemert de vous poser une question en français! Je voulais savoir - Raymond, est-ce que vous estimez, comme beaucoup de Français , que la cuisine anglaise est inférieure a la cuisine française. J'ai vecu en France et mes amis français n'arrêtaient pas de dire que la bouffe anglaise etait degeulasse! J'espère que vous n'êtes pas (tout à fait) d'accord. smile

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:15:24

granjura

By the way, whenever I go to Besançon, I always look around for your mum Raymond. Saying that women in France to not get fat- as you know there are plenty of big women in rural Franche-Comté smile But your mum is so small and petite- and I'm sure I'd recognize her if I met her smile

Yes French women do get fat, but it seems that there is a food culture in France which often defines how people eat and in France we still eat well. Eating well, a varied diet (which omits bacon and eggs every morning or six glasses of wine at night) means a better diet. As far is my mum is concerned, she is tiny, like me she's always busy and she's a treasure - she's lovely.

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:17:23

granjura

Made me smile recently to see that 'saucisse de Morteau' a local produce, is becoming fashionable in the UK. First came about it at Hambleton Hall, a few years ago- and we really laughed as it was served to us as a very fancy starter, with lentils, toast and a balsamic reduction- but also a a small café we visit in Leicester, Mrs Bridge's, where one of my ex students is the Chef (taught French). Do you use 'saucisse de Morteau' yourself?

Saucisse de Morteau is, for me, the world's best sausage, and it's quite nice for my British friends to discover it. You can do fantastic, wholesome recipes with it and you will find it in my restaurant in all my Brasserie Blancs (Salade de Saucisse Morteau).

Cheese Mon 03-Feb-14 15:17:35

Hello Raymond and Oli. How do you think the relationship children have with food in Britain could be improved? I read dishes should be in the middle and children should be able to pick and choose what they'd like, controlling their own portion size, rather than serving individual plates. Do you think this matters?

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:19:54

somewherehot

Can I ask what, in your view, are the best English dishes? Also, when I was (much) younger and a teenager, I stayed with a French family for a couple of weeks to learn French. The contrast between the mother's omelette and my own mother's was incredible - i don't really even like eggs, but she just made it taste so wonderful (sorry mum!). How do French people do this?!!

I'm sure an English omelette should taste exactly the same as a French one, but it comes down to skill and fresh ingredients. If you're able to add some small bacon, it will help to lift it up as well. One little tip - to give it the best texture, place it in with a little bit of foaming butter (only 10g per portion) and do not whisk immediately, let it sit for about 5-7 seconds. That's how you're going to get a wonderful texture.

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:21:21

iMac

What do you both make of Ludo Lefebvre as a judge on The Taste? Would you be interested in judging in the next series?

Actually I didn't see it. A few friends spoke to me about it but I haven't really heard of him so can't really comment but it's a very interesting programme because I've always tried to optimise taste and pass it on to my young chefs.

skyhigh Mon 03-Feb-14 15:22:16

Hello Raymond. Do you mix things up and cook other cuisines?

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:24:16

bethannie

The Restaurant was one of my favourite TV programmes. Will it ever come back do you think? Did you enjoy being a judge?

Being a judge in The Restaurant was a two-edged sword with so many people that were inept at cooking but "made very good television". They would have made terrible restauranteurs. But we have one best-kept secret, which is the two young men (James and JJ - the ones who winked at me) who are now running an extremely successful cocktail bar called The London Cocktail Bar. Would I do it again? If you give me the right gifted students, yes. Otherwise no!

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:25:53

nicky68

Hi Raymond. My husband has promised that one day he will take me to Le Manoir. I am dying to do - it looks amazing - but I am quite fussy and scared that the food will be too fancy for me. Can you reassure me before he changes his mind and takes me to Pizza Hut instead?

Yes Le Manoir is an amazing place. It has 11 gardens and wonderful food. Please, you must see it as the most welcoming place in the world. The first thing I did was to kill the protocol of tables, to create inclusive luxury. Please look at all the reviews, it's the most welcoming place in the world.

OliBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:26:59

chelsss

Who came up with the name 'Henri Le Worm' ? Oli or Charlotte?

The actual idea was first formulated in my head, BUT it wouldn't have happened without Charlotte. So you could say we both gave birth to a worm... That my first-born is a giant, segmented creature that breathes through its skin.

supergrannymelly Mon 03-Feb-14 15:28:47

Bonjour Raymond! French people appear to have romance down to perfection. As Valentines is nearly here I would really like to know how you would woo your lovely lady and what dish you would cook to show you love on such a special day.

OliBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:28:57

rosesarered

Hello,
my 8 yr old Grandson is autistic and obsessed with worms; as in, he loves them, and I have to make up 'worm stories' all the time.So, they are a family who live in my garden, parents and 2 children. Daddy worm is very brave and likes having dangerous adventures. Am running out of steam with them though, so what you have created is 'just the job'!
Because Grandson doesn't eat much , do you have a very simple easy to eat recipe [no lumps or much chewing needed] that I could make for his supper. He likes strong flavours. Thank you.

Well Henri is thrilled that your grandson is a fan and you can tell him that Henri is a huge fan of his.

woof Mon 03-Feb-14 15:30:24

I hear you're hot on school food policies - do you think universal free lunches for all primary school children in year 2 and under is a good idea? I would be worried that standards would drop when the pressure is on for them to provide...

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:30:52

rosesarered

Hello,
my 8 yr old Grandson is autistic and obsessed with worms; as in, he loves them, and I have to make up 'worm stories' all the time.So, they are a family who live in my garden, parents and 2 children. Daddy worm is very brave and likes having dangerous adventures. Am running out of steam with them though, so what you have created is 'just the job'!
Because Grandson doesn't eat much , do you have a very simple easy to eat recipe [no lumps or much chewing needed] that I could make for his supper. He likes strong flavours. Thank you.

The simplest would be, as he likes strong flavours, to give him a nice ripe Camembert, place it in the oven and bake iot for about 10-15 minutes about 150 degrees. Then the flesh will become very creamy and dip toasted bread, cereal or rye in the liquid Camembert. Easy delicious and a great party dish. Of course, you can add as much garlic as you like, or rosemary, or even truffle.

OliBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:34:35

wolfie

Following on from chelsss' question I wondered why a worm? I have never thought of worms as gastronomic experts although in this I may be quite wrong grin

Fair point - but I think if we look at having a rat as a chef in Ratatioulle, or friendly sharks in A Shark's Tale, I think if you have the right character and the right design you can make any creature appealing to children. A worm may seem humble but he has a vital job in the garden where he will aerate the soil and help enrich it through decomposition. But to be fair, Henri did complete a three year stage under RB's tutelage at Le Manoir and Brasserie Blanc and came through with flying colours.

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:36:29

CaffeineAddict

Hi Raymond and Oli. Who is your favourite chef?

Of course, there's only one Maman Blanc. She established the cornerstone of my own cooking which is about celebrating seasonality, the very best produce, best variety, and cooking them simply to create some wonderful, delicious food.

OliBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:40:14

CaffeineAddict

Hi Raymond and Oli. Who is your favourite chef?

It has to be my Pops (he's got me in a headlock at the moment, which is affecting my choice). But in all seriousness I think some of my favourite recipes have come from Papa, such as essence of tomato, spring vegetables or cafe creme.But you can also cook some beautiful, simple and rustic food like Henri.

grandmatobe Mon 03-Feb-14 15:41:16

I always like to add wine to cooking, but am wary when my friend's come for dinner with their children. Is it okay to add a small amount of wine in children's foods for flavour?

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:41:59

Hearmeroar

Your tweet about the Great British Back Off where you said, “The Great British Bake Off. Not much skills, female tears and a winner so thin who makes me doubt of her love for great cooking, baking.” - did you expect to receive the reaction you did? Do you think your comment was slightly misogynistic?

I don't remember that day!! Probably I was in a very out of sorts on that morning, which is very unusual. I agree that my comments were harsh and to some unfair, especially for young people as I understand how difficult it is to work on camera. I apologise!

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:44:43

Marthamuffin

Raymond I am interested to know how you got your kids cooking? Also curious to know at what stage to give them new tasks (cutting) and to let them near hot pans?

The fact is, I opened my restaurant as a 28-year-old, and was totally self taught. I had to devote my full attention to creating a successful restaurant and I must say, both my sons were at private school and we were both working so hard that there was no time. It's only after, when they were young adults, that we managed to cook together. They were only coming back once a month and during holidays.

foodfanatic Mon 03-Feb-14 15:45:11

My way of making white sauce is very basic - melted butter, plain flour and milk. It's always hit or miss whether it works out. Any tips? Anything to make it more... exciting?

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:48:32

Galen

I adore French cooking. Have you a good recipe for a sauce Robert as it's one of my favourites.

Sauce Robert belongs to an old repertoire of French cuisine and if i did do this sauce, I wouldn't use demi-glace as it's to heavy and rich. I would use brown chicken stock, but for a quick recipe, 10g of butter, 100g of onion (chopped finely), 70g of white wine (dry) and 100g of brown chicken stock, 15g mustard.

Sweat the onion in butter for 5 minutes, add the wine and boil to remove alcohol, whisk in the mustard, add the chicken stock, reduce until it coats the back of the spoon.

p.s a little bit of fresh herbs such as tarragon, thyme or rosemary will add character to your sauce.

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 15:52:43

granjura

Raymond- we are having a discussion about the school lunches in the UK. Considering Jamie's study of those school lunches- what do you think about the issue? Should strict school uniform be more important than healthy food- from a French point of view?

There are so many studies, which demonstrates very clearly that good food is so important to the health of a young child. His learning abilities, his attention span and his joie de vivre, also connection with where the food comes from (seasonality etc) so of course it's a no brainer. Nutrition is important and at last the government is recognising it. Soon the school food plan will be available in every primary school from 5-14.

chelsss Mon 03-Feb-14 15:57:09

whats it like working with charlotte salt? also your app is fab!

RaymondBlanc Mon 03-Feb-14 16:04:36

Bonjour

Bonjour Raymond!

Je me pemert de vous poser une question en français! Je voulais savoir - Raymond, est-ce que vous estimez, comme beaucoup de Français , que la cuisine anglaise est inférieure a la cuisine française. J'ai vecu en France et mes amis français n'arrêtaient pas de dire que la bouffe anglaise etait degeulasse! J'espère que vous n'êtes pas (tout à fait) d'accord. smile

Ces gens qui denigrent la cuisine Anglaise maintenant ne savent pas qu'il y a une revolution gastronomique en Grand Bretagne. Cela etait vrai il y a vingt ans mais certainement pas maintenant. Londres, par example, est maintenant une ville ou la gastronomie est classee par mi les meilleurs au monde. Sa creativite etait construite sur la diversite des cultures.

La France a un tresor qu'elle doit protege comma un patrimoine precieux. Autrement ell le perdrera. Deja, il y a plus de McDonald en France qu'il y a en Grande Bretagne. Nous de plus en plus dans les Francais mangent du fast food. Et la France devrait etudier le cauchemard de la mal bouffe en Grande Bretagne il y a vingt ans et ses consequences.

Galen Mon 03-Feb-14 16:16:05

How do you get a brown chicken stock?

LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 03-Feb-14 16:27:18

A huge merci to Raymond and Oli!

Elegran Mon 03-Feb-14 16:35:24

Bad timing Galen, they have gone! But I can answer that (son-in-law who does that sort of thing, enthusiastic amateur) He roasts his chicken carcase (plus any others he can get hold of from the butcher, or a packet of cheapest chicken wings or something similar) until they go brown. Then he puts the whole trayful including dried-on bits into a pan of water to make the stock.

He asks game butchers for (free) pheasant carcases too - they cut off the good bits to sell - to make game stock.

Galen Mon 03-Feb-14 16:53:26

Thanks. Must try that!

granjura Mon 03-Feb-14 19:21:36

Thanks Raymond- I am so so glad you agree good nutrition is important smile

KatGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 05-Feb-14 12:45:30

Watch out video with Raymond and Oli here:

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