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Oxfordshire school chefs showcase skills at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons

11 Sep 2019
Two Oxfordshire school chefs prepared for the new school term this week with a day in the kitchens of Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons.

As part of LACA’s national initiative Host a School Chef, sponsored by Alaka Seafood, the school chefs were invited by executive head chef, Gary Jones, to work alongside the brigade.

The initiative allows fine dining restaurants the chance to offer school chefs the opportunity to spend the day working alongside some of the most celebrated chefs in the industry.  

Jill Hall, caterer at Trinity Primary School in Henley-on-Thames, said: “Both Debbie and I agreed that to spend the day in the world famous Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, has to be the highlight of our catering careers.

“The skill and professionalism of Gary and his team was truly outstanding to behold and a first-hand experience of what it takes to retain two Michelin Stars for 35 years.

“To take part in the operation for the day was a privilege and everyone was so helpful and inclusive; what was the icing on the cake for me was during our tour of the herb and vegetable gardens, I mentioned to Gary that we have a ‘growing club’ at Trinity Primary where the children grow their own produce for use in the school kitchen. I now have an open invitation to visit Belmond Le Manoir with my ‘growing club’ where Gary is going to take them on a tour of the gardens and enjoy a picnic – absolutely incredible”.

Debbie Rice, caterer at North Kidlington School added:It was an absolutely amazing day and an experience we will both never forget. To be given the opportunity to work alongside Gary Jones and the brigade was really quite unbelievable; we were made to feel most welcome and very much part of the team.

“To then have the mouth-watering food served up as our lunch was absolutely wonderful and really capped the whole experience. It was a terrific insight into the world of haute cuisine and I have picked up lots of tips and ideas to take back to school with me.”

Executive head chef Gary Jones, said:

“It was a pleasure to host Jill and Debbie and for them to work with the team here at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. They enjoyed their day and it is good to share knowledge and experiences across all sectors of this wonderful industry.”