Escape to Le Manoir

Jeff and I recently retreated to the country for a wonderful dinner at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

As its name suggests, Le Manoir is a little hamlet reminiscent of France situated in the picturesque countryside of Oxfordshire, England.  The manor house is beautifully appointed and is surrounded by bountiful gardens, ponds and orchards.  We strolled the impressive grounds prior to dinner.

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The main event at Le Manoir is the food.  Raymond Blanc is a renowned chef, author, and celebrity in the UK.  His masterful culinary skills have earned Le Manoir two coveted Michelin stars.  He is the type of effusive, egotistical, unfiltered Frenchman who makes unforgettable declarations every time he opens his mouth in a thick gutteral accent:

“When you cook it should be an act of love. To put a frozen bag in the microwave for your child is an act of hate.”

“I’ve never been able to contemplate failure. Success is everything.” 

So French, non?  I laugh when I think of Raymond in comparison to Buddy (the Cake Boss), an American celebrity chef of sorts.  Any question as to whom I’d rather dine with… Fugetaboudit!!

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The dinner we enjoyed was in celebration of Blanc’s fellow celebrity chef and good friend, Prue Leith.  It turns out that Prue is the South African equivalent of Martha Stewart.  A feisty, accomplished woman, Prue is tall in stature and long on achievement.   She started out inauspiciously as a nanny who prepared food for young families.  Then she started making lunches to deliver to corporations; this endeavor morphed into a successful catering business.  Soon, Prue opened her first restaurant which became a smashing success and led to the development of her renowned cooking schools.  She is now a prolific writer of cookbooks and novels.  She is also a character with a glint of naughty fun in her eye who did famously observe:  ” When you get to fifty-two, food becomes more important than sex.”  I’ll have to wait and see…

 

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We dined on exquisite food in a magnificent setting and felt like we escaped completely from London, though under one hour away.  Nothing satisfies the soul like great food served in a great setting and enjoyed in great company.

Here’s some final food for thought:

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one hasn’t eaten well.” — Virginia Wolf

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