Learning with experts

An Introduction to French Cooking

Taught by Raymond Blanc

Great craftsmanship in food is taught by experts, learnt through practice, and executed with love.

Course outline

  • Apple Tart 'Maman Blanc'

    You will be taught how to make Raymond’s famous Apple Tart and the craftsmanship required for this type of Tart. Maman Blanc makes the best apple tart. It takes its roots from simplicity. The secret lies in choosing the right apple, with a great flavour and the right balance of acidity and sweetness. The varieties I have suggested to use here will fluff up and caramelise beautifully, filling your kitchen with an enticing apple aroma. I sometimes pour a light custard into the tart towards the end of the cooking - it is simply divine, so do try it (see variations). I also make this tart using other fruits, notably plums, apricots and cherries.
  • Comté Cheese Soufflé

    A staple on the family table in his working-class childhood in the Franche-Comté region, this simple cheesy souffle remains French maestro Raymond Blanc’s taste of home.

    Comté is used in hundreds of Franche-Comtois recipes – raclette, quenelles … and this souffle, which was always one of my mother’s staples. If you’re to truly practice the craft of French cooking – you must understand this technique.

    The comté cheese souffle encapsulates my region, my terroir, my home – it is the defining dish of the whole region of Franche-Comté.

  • Boeuf Bourguignon

    There are no shortcuts for this giant of French classical cooking, but that doesn’t mean it’s not manageable. You need a clear understanding of what cuts of beef are best? Can bacon replace salt pork? And how pricey a wine do you need to use?
  • Cauliflower soup

    When cooked properly, cauliflower is noble and delicate. So… do not overcook it. You will learn Raymond’s secrets around steaming instead of boiling your soup (The vitamins are soluble so boiling can remove a lot of the goodness) and others.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option

    Recommended

    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Raymond Blanc

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Raymond Blanc
    • Certificate of completion from Raymond Blanc
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
    $299.00
  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course whenever you like
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
    $99.00

Course Description

Becoming a world class chef has been a life’s work for Raymond Blanc. He is a hands-on artisan, equally at home crafting away in the kitchens of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons or crouching in raptures over the first shoots of asparagus in his potager.

During this unique online cooking course Raymond shares secrets of his craft using four examples of his favourite French dishes. Any enthusiastic home cook or aspiring chef with an ability to manage simple processes and ingredients can prepare these delicious dishes – wherever you are in the world. But this isn’t just about recipes; you will learn about the how, the why, the true craftsmanship. Raymond gives you his personal insights into the excellence in craftsmanship that goes into creating delicious French rustic cuisine.

During this online course Raymond’s team are on hand (if you choose the expert version) to mark your assignments and answer your queries. This gives you a real insight into the techniques that Raymond has perfected over decades of experience, and you’ll have your work assessed by the team at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons.

About Raymond Blanc

Raymond Blanc OBE (born 19 November 1949) is a French chef. He is one of Britain's most respected chefs.[1] Blanc is the owner and chef at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a hotel-restaurant in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, England. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and scored 9/10 in the Good Food Guide. He is entirely self-taught, but has himself taught or employed other chefs including (for a week's probation) Heston Blumenthal, John Burton-Race,Michael Caines, Paul Liebrandt,[and Marco Pierre White. Blanc was born near Besançon, the capital of the Franche-Comté region in eastern France, between Burgundy and the Jura mountains. He grew up in Saône, a village just east of there. While his two sisters were taught to cook by the influential Maman Blanc, his father taught Blanc and his two brothers to work in the kitchen garden. His father gave him a colander and foraging map for his 10th birthday, and what he collected his mother taught him to cook. Training as a waiter, Blanc worked at the Michelin-starred Le Palais de la Bière in Besançon. In 1972 he was fired for upsetting the head chef (Blanc had offered him advice on how to cook); however, the manager knew of a job in England. Not speaking English well enough to survive without a notepad, he was dispatched to The Rose Revived in Newbridge, Oxfordshire, arriving three days after landing at Dover in his Renault 5 Gordini. Blanc married the owner's daughter Jenny, and the couple had two sons. Before striking out on his own in 1977, Blanc worked for a time under chef patron André Chavagnon, who had opened a French restaurant, La Sorbonne, in Oxford High Street in 1966. In 1977, the Blancs opened Les Quat' Saisons in a row of modern shops in Summertown, Oxford: "We mortgaged the house, owed 18 further people, and opened in a corridor between a lingerie shop and Oxfam". An overnight success, he won "Egon Ronay Guide Restaurant of the Year", two Michelin stars and a host of other distinctions. In 1981, Blanc opened La Maison Blanc, a chain of boulangeries and pâtisseries that also contain cafès. There are 14 branches of Maison Blanc across the country[clarification needed], including several in London and one in Oxford. Maison Blanc cakes are available nationwide in Waitrose. In 1983, Blanc purchased a manor-house in the Oxfordshire village of Great Milton where he opened Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a country house hotel and double Michelin starred restaurant. Awarded five AA stars and with a score of 19/20 from respected French guide Gault Millau, Le Manoir describes itself as "one of the ultimate gastronomic destinations in the country". Blanc opened Le Petit Blanc, the first of a chain of smaller restaurants, in Oxford in June 1996. Blanc's stated aim with these was to bring the French philosophy of "good food being central to good living" to the United Kingdom. His desire was to create and serve food that can be enjoyed by everyone – "from the time-conscious business person to those looking for a welcoming family restaurant". Blanc suffered two mini strokes when he was 42, believed to have been brought on by stress and overwork. In June 2003, after nearly losing the chain to his ex-wife Jenny as part of his divorce settlement,[8] the four Le Petit Blanc Brasseries (now known as Brasserie Blanc) in Birmingham (which closed in 2008), Cheltenham, Manchester and Oxford became part of the Loch Fyne Restaurant Group portfolio. Blanc maintains a share in the business, and continues to be involved creating new menus, developing the chef and kitchen teams and participating in the promotion of the restaurants. Since 1996, Raymond has opened the following branches of Brasserie Blanc: 1996 - Le Petit Blanc brasserie, Oxford. Awarded one Michelin Star in its first year and classed amongst the ten best restaurants in the country, in 2006 it was re-launched as Brasserie Blanc 1998 - Cheltenham 1999 - Birmingham (closed 2008)[12] 2000 - Manchester 2004 - Tunbridge Wells (closed 2009)[13] 2007 - Leeds and Milton Keynes 2008 - Bristol and Winchester 2009 - Portsmouth 2010 - Chichester and Threadneedle Street, London 2012 - Bath, Berkhamsted, St Albans and Chancery Lane, St Paul’s and Tower Hill in London In 2012 Blanc became the president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. In March 2013, Raymond Blanc made the news with Mayor of London Boris Johnson, to publicise a scheme to get young people into the food and hospitality industry. Blanc took on twenty-one apprentices across the Brasserie Blanc Restaurants. Blanc is one of the patrons of the Children's Food Festival, which was held on the Northmoor Trust Estate in south Oxfordshire in June 2009. In 2014 he presented with Kate Humble Kew on a Plate, a 4-part television series, demonstrating the garden growth and preparation of several vegetable dishes. Chefs trained by Blanc Blanc has taught or employed many other future chefs and restaurateurs, including: Sat Bains[18] John Burton-Race[4] Heston Blumenthal[3] Michael Caines[5] Elisha Carter[19] Éric Chavot[20] William Curley[21] Shaun Dickens[22] JJ Goodman[23] David Goodridge[24] Paul Heathcote[25] Paul Liebrandt[6] David Moore[26] Marco Pierre White[7] TV appearances Blanc has made numerous appearances on many major television stations, during prime time viewing, in the UK. These include his own series Food & Drink in 1987, Take Six Cooks in 1986 and Masterchef in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995 and 1998, as well as The Restaurant, a BBC 2 series hosted by Blanc where nine couples competed to win their own restaurant. Blanc was a featured chef on Great Chefs television, appearing in Great Chefs of the World. On 13 January 2007, he appeared on Saturday Kitchen. In the Omelette Challenge, he finished last because he took the longest to cook an omelette. However, he was nudged up a few places by James Martin, right above Ken Hom, as Blanc produced a black truffle out of his pocket and garnished the finished omelette with truffle shavings. In summer 2007, a BBC promotion for his new reality TV programme The Restaurant was shown on UK television. (The show is known to BBC America viewers in the US as Last Restaurant Standing). The promo showed a group of well-dressed diners in a slow-motion food fight, to a Gonzales backing track. The show was part of BBC Two's autumn season in 2007 and returned, with minor changes to the format, in 2008. In 2009, The Restaurant returned to BBC Two in a low-budget format. This season was much criticised for the poor standard of contestants, for neglecting the successful elements of previous series, and for Blanc choosing as the winner a team without any discernible culinary ability outside of making cocktails..

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