My Week at Le Manoir

Well what a week this has been, and rather apt too it being National Baking Week and all. I spent the week at Le Manoir, Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin starred restaurant in Oxfordshire, baking in the pastry kitchen. The first thing you should know about the restaurant is that it is beautiful, probably the most attractive setting for a restaurant I have seen in this country. It is set in a beautiful building surround by large perfectly managed gardens, including a large vegetable garden. I have to admit that the first day or so were fairly nervous for me. This was the first professional kitchen I have ever worked in and I guess I just felt a little out of place. This was also whilst I was working in the service side of the kitchen. The pastry kitchen doesn’t just serve the restaurant it also makes things for the hotels breakfast and afternoon tea as well as all the bread for the whole operation. The service side of the pastry kitchen deals with the restaurants desserts and because there is a very fast turnaround it gets very busy during service and a little stressed meaning I sometimes felt a little lost with everyone running around me.

I started the week making ice cream and sorbet bases including a wonderful pear and anise sorbet. Because a lot of this kitchen is prep work before service I peeled a lot of apples and segmented loads of grapefruit, which according to Monsieur Blanc I wasn’t doing as perfectly as I should have been. He actually seems like a very nice guy and came across very well the two times I met him. The second section I worked in is called the tour kitchen and is responsible for all the breads, cakes, and afternoon tea. I loved working this section, I got to make so any different things from start to finish including large batches of their famous lemon cake, huge batches of bread, masses of petit four and many many other things. I was so impressed with the output of the kitchen. The desserts look completely stunning and everything I tried was great. The breads were also amazing, I especially loved the sourdough. The chefs were all very welcoming and gracious with there knowledge and helped make the experience as inspiring as it was. I came away tired (12 hour shifts starting at 5.30 will do that to you) but with loads of ideas.

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21 responses to “My Week at Le Manoir

  1. Looks like you had loads of fun this week, glad you’re getting the opportunity to do stuff like this 🙂

  2. So cool! I love the photo of you and RB 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what’s up next.

  3. Sounds like a great week, fantastic experience and some good eating too 😉 Purely in the line of duty I am sure! Here’s to the next big thing for you!

  4. That’s a lot of output for the pastry section – but how important! What an amazing experience!
    I doubt you’d be allowed to share what you learnt there but would love to see what you get inspred to make as a result!

  5. Sounds like a fantastic learning experience and hugely inspirational, if exhausting!

  6. What an amazing experience!

  7. I enjoyed reading your tweets from Le Manoir. I went there for lunch for the first time two weeks ago and it is a wonderful place. Hope it inspires you!
    Well done!

    What’s next?

  8. What a wonderful experience you’ve had and a couple of great photos to remember. Good Luck with your next venture in food.

  9. Sounds like you had a wondeful week. It makes me want to visit Le Manoir more now!

  10. Sounds like it was a great eye-opener and what a wonderful place in which to learn more and be in the thick of the action. Looking forward to hearing about your next experiences and lots of luck with everything 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness I am so envious but so pleased that you had such a great experience. Good luck in whatever you are up to next. The future is bright, my friend!

  12. So pleased for you Edd! Cant wait to hear what is next. Best of luck

  13. 12 hour shifts are not delicious. But at least yours involved baking!

  14. Ooh scary… this sounds like it has the makings of a spin off documentary following What Edd Did Next!

  15. Those bread rolls look amazing. The one that Monsieur Blanc is holding up reminds me of the sourdough rolls our baker made when I was a child (sadly, the bakery doesn’t exist anymore). Best rolls I’ve ever eaten. Good with anything on top, sweet or savoury.
    Working in a professional kitchen is hard work but I find immensely satisfying, especially when you get feedback from customers!

  16. Hi,

    Followed your exploits on The Great British Bakeoff, great your now doing so well.

    I’m an enthusiastic and down to earth home cook – just started a blog as part of my university studies. It’d be great if you could cast your expert eye over my blog and let me know what you think!

    It’s cardiffcooks.wordpress.com

    Many thanks,

    Good luck with everything,

    Hannah
    @cardiffcooks.
    h.a.stokes@hotmail.co.uk

  17. Oh, don’t you look the part! Looking forward to hearing all about what’s coming next…

  18. Have just watched the final of Great British Bake. Well done on doing so well. It must be great to be living the dream and have such wonderful experiences like cooking at Le Manoir!x

  19. What a great opportunity to work in a professional kitchen. Looks like it was fun, if hard work. Hope you learnt lots.

  20. Wow-what a great opportunity! the pictures are great too!

  21. Pingback: Dinner at Le Manoir | He-Eats

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