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SHORT BREAKS COOKING : UK COOKING VACATIONS

Cooking at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons
. . .
for everyone who has a passion for food

Now in its eleventh year, the Raymond Blanc Cookery School is the only cookery school in the world to offer visitors the chance to watch, learn and practise in the kitchen of a two Michelin Star restaurant.

"Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons is the fulfilment of a personal vision, a dream that one day I would create a hotel and restaurant in harmony where my guests would find perfection in food, comfort, service and welcome." ~ Raymond Blanc

Situated in secluded grounds just eight miles south of the historic City of Oxford, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons resides in the charming village of Great Milton. The beautiful Fifteenth Century, golden stone gabled manor house is home to Raymond Blanc's contemporary classic hotel, acclaimed two Michelin star restaurant and Cookery School, set within 27 acres of gardens including its own organic vegetable gardens. The atmosphere throughout is one of understated elegance while all 32 bedrooms and suites offer guests the highest standards of comfort and luxury.

The Raymond Blanc Cookery School is for everyone who has a passion for food and wishes to have fun preparing it. In fact, “fun” is the word most often used by the cookery school students to describe their one, two or four days at the School. Initial concerns about the level of cooking skills required are immediately dispelled by the informality of the environment and the realisation that the only qualifications needed are a love of food and the desire to learn about cooking. At the hands of the School's experienced chefs, the complete novice through to the experienced enthusiast will learn not only the secrets of producing the finest food, but the reasons behind those secrets.

The courses provide a hands-on opportunity to develop your culinary skills in a practical and supportive learning environment, as well as being a holiday in the most luxurious and beautiful surroundings and a chance to make new friends.

You will leave Le Manoir with new-found confidence and enthusiasm, impatient to return to your own kitchen to experiment with your skills.

RAYMOND BLANC  

Raymond Blanc"The good does not interest us. The sublime does." ~ Raymond Blanc

Born in Besançon, France in 1949, Raymond Blanc is acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. His exquisite cooking has received tributes from every national and international guide to culinary excellence.

Raymond arrived in England in 1972 to work as a waiter at the Rose Revived Restaurant near Witney. When the chef became ill, he took over and two years later, the restaurant gained entry into the Michelin Guide.

At the age of 28, Raymond Blanc opened his first restaurant 'Les Quat' Saisons' in Summertown, Oxford. After just one year, the restaurant was named Egon Ronay Restaurant of the Year and a host of other accolades including Michelin Stars and Pestle & Mortar awards followed.

It was in 1984, however, that he fulfilled a personal vision, creating an hotel and restaurant in harmony when he opened Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Great Milton, Oxford. Le Manoir is the only country house hotel in the UK which has achieved two Michelin Stars for a total of 19 years. "His house is as beautiful as a tale of Lewis Carroll" commented Gilles Pudlowski.

In 1991, Raymond Blanc established The Raymond Blanc Cookery School, welcoming both enthusiastic amateurs and professional cooks to the kitchen. The school provides the opportunity to develop their skills whilst learning some of Raymond Blanc's kitchen secrets.

In 1996, Raymond Blanc opened his first Le Petit Blanc brasserie in Oxford. His aim was to be the best within the brasserie scene in England - serving good quality, freshly prepared food at a price that was accessible and represented excellent value.

Another three brasseries were opened in the subsequent years and achieved the perfection which RB had set out to achieve by becoming the only brasseries in the United Kingdom to achieve the Michelin Bib Gourmand.

Raymond Blanc Raymond Blanc

Over the past few years, RB has written a selection of best sellers, including 'Cooking For Friends', 'A Blanc Christmas', the Sunday Times bestseller 'Recipes from Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons', 'Blanc Vite' and his most recent book, 'Foolproof French Cookery'.

In 1998 Raymond Blanc worked alongside top interior designer Emily Todhunter to complete a major development project at Le Manoir. Together, their visions and creativity prepared the 15th Century Manor for the demands and expectations of the new Millennium.

Sir Terence Conran commented that "Raymond Blanc has transformed his Manoir aux Quat' Saisons into a hymn of contemporary style. Gone are the heavy chintzes, billowing swags and over-gilded ornamentation and in their place is light and comfortable modernity".

Raymond Blanc comments "as well as refurbishing seven bedrooms we spent £300,000 updating the kitchens with new ranges and our ultimate goal is to achieve a third Michelin star. It is through the dedication and commitment of the whole team at Le Manoir that we strive to meet the guests' demands in every way. We aim to touch excellence in all we do here, whoever we are and whatever our role".

Raymond Blanc Raymond Blanc

 
LE MANOIR COOKING SCHOOL COURSES  

COOKERY COURSES

One, two or four days at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School will nurture your natural love of food and provide you with the skills you need to translate this love into beautiful and imaginative cuisine.

Choose the length of your course, from a range of one, two and four day courses, taking in the selection and preparation of a wide range of foods . . . or decide on a specialised course, in order to create the perfect dinner for your party, update your repertoire with a little Fusion cooking or create exciting dishes packed with perfectly balanced nutritional goodness.

The Cooking School is also very pleased to announce that Raymond Blanc will be personally teaching selected dates from its 'Adult and Child' and 'Learn to Cook in One Day' courses for 2008. Look out for these courses in the School calendar - <click here>

Dinner Party - One Day Course

The one day dinner party course is the ideal opportunity to gather some great tips from the professionals to create the perfect dinner party. Students are shown fabulous techniques, making the role of host appear seamless.

The recipes are well within the competence of the home cook and are all imbued with Raymond Blanc's own extraordinary personality and flair.

The setting up and preparation for a delicious three-course dinner party will enable you to get ahead of time allowing you the opportunity to relax with your guests.

Recipes include a range of seasonal starters and main courses and, if desserts are your biggest challenge, during the afternoon, you will be guided through the preparation of some classic dessert dishes and accompaniments. Each recipe adapts a range of techniques used by the professional chefs in Le Manoir's kitchen.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

The course even considers helpful tips to bring you back on track, should your preparations not go according to plan.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Food and Wine - One Day Course with accommodation

Created by Raymond Blanc, this course is for everyone who has a passion for food, wine and entertaining.

Raymond is joining forces with Le Manoir’s Chef Sommelier to host an inspirational and fun day.

If you have not already experienced the cookery school for yourself, courses are hands-on and qualifications are unnecessary.

The complete novice to the experienced enthusiast will learn not only the secrets of producing the finest food, but the reasons behind those secrets.

During the day you will be guided through tutored wine tastings; you will create some of Le Manoir’s classic dishes and gain some expert advice on making the best sauces and stocks.

After such an intense study of food and wine and with your best interests in mind, we have made this particular course residential. The course will include a day’s tuition, with refreshments throughout and an informal lunch with your fellow students, a celebratory dinner with accompanying wines, overnight accommodation in one of Le Manoir’s superb bedrooms and breakfast the following morning.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Fusion Cuisine - One Day Course

Fusion cuisine has many detractors, but Raymond firmly believes that this style of food is here to stay.

This one-day course looks at all the vital ingredients that are used in Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisine.

Raymond Blanc has created this course, exemplifying how fusion has influenced the cuisine served at Le Manoir over the last twenty years. Fusion food is healthy and answers all the rules of nutrition as we know them.

Students are introduced to the basics of each cuisine and giving an understanding of how to fuse certain ingredients together. The day will include dishes from China, India, Japan and Thailand.

As well as creating these stunning recipes, students will taste an amazing array of Asian sauces, spices and aromatic teas. Advice is given on where to purchase more specialist ingredients and how to store them to obtain the very best flavours and longevity.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Nutrition et la Cuisine Moderne - One Day Course

This one day course is a new addition to the Ecole's course calendar.

Together with the expert advice of Professor C Jeya K Henry, Head of Food and Science & Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University, Nurdin Topham will run this exciting course which demonstrates that wholesome food translates into the best nutrition.

Raymond Blanc believes that there are too many nutritionists who make us feel that eating and drinking is all to do with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

"Our lives are being ruled with calorie counting, closely followed by paranoia and fear. Very few will link food with the many pleasures of the table. This does not need to be so."

Science has now proven beyond doubt that food is a vital factor for quality and longevity of life, something the Oriental countries have known for thousands of years. To this end Raymond has created La Nutrition et la Cuisine Moderne.

All the wonderful recipes that you will discover meet the needs of our modern society by being fast, simple, wholesome and implicitly nutritious. The course removes the myth that only lentil cakes and salads are healthy. Nurdin will introduce you to exciting dishes using simple techniques; at the same time helping you to enter a new and magical world of the healing and protective properties of food in which they have always believed and incorporated in cooking.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Blanc Vite - One Day Course

This one day course is a new addition to the Ecole's course calendar and is based on RB's book Blanc Vite.
Using the skills and techniques of Le Manoir will give our students the ability to create fast, simple and delicious dinner parties - with the minimum of preparation and complication and the maximum reward, freedom and fun.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am).

After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Christmas Dinner Party - One Day Course

The Christmas course is structured around the ease of preparation for that busy day, allowing you to plan ahead and to get ahead of time leaving you free to enjoy the festivities. The day is packed with helpful tips and even considers alternatives when things do not go according to plan.

The recipes are well within the competence of the home cook and are all imbued with Raymond Blanc's own extraordinary personality and flair.

The course includes preparation of winter soups and broths, ideal for snacking before Midnight Mass or for a warm filler for those inevitable surprise callers.

If the idea of a roast turkey at Christmas time is a little daunting or you just feel like something more wholesome, the course guides you through preparing the very best alternatives in winter fare, all with stunning garnishes, sauces and accompanying seasonal vegetables. Christmas is, after all, a time of excess so desserts are full of delicious seasonal indulgences.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school.

A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Degustibus Bread Course - One Day Course

This one day course with Dan Degustibus is an addition to the Ecole's course calendar.

Dan Degustibus is one of the leading artisan bakers in Britain making bread in the traditional way.

Prepare yourself for a feast experience as Dan combines both the talent of a master baker and the skills of a fine teacher. All of his ingredients are organic and his views are very much on par with RB's.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Garden to Plate - One Day Course

This one day course is a new addition to the Ecole's course calendar.

As well as being aesthetic, the garden at Le Manoir plays an integral part of what is produced in the kitchen.

This course will use the bounty of Le manoir's organic garden to create wondrous dishes.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Learn to Cook in One Day

New for 2008! Our aim is to simply demystify cooking and nutrition and take you on a fast and fantastic journery through the kitchen. We will give you the basic cookery craft skills and also sound basic nutritional knowledge, enabling you to cook a wholesome, delicious and nutritionally balanced meal for your friends and family. After all, with the best ingredients available to you, good food is simple and quick to make - you don't need to be called Raymond Blanc to cook a great meal!

The course will cover a broad range of cooking skills and techniques, including the preperation and cooking of starters, main courses and desserts, giving the pupil the perfect introduction to fine cuisine and nutritional dining.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and an informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch, the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

We are also very pleased to announce that Raymond Blanc will personally teach the groups on Monday 2nd June and Tuesday 3rd June. On all other dates in 2008, the course will be taught by our Cookery School Tutors.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Adult and Child - One Day Course

Making time to eat together as a family, even in the most hectic household, is so important. Cooking nutritious and delicious food for the whole family plays an essential part in our daily lives, and as families we should cherish the time we have around the dinner table.

At Le Manoir we are very pleased to offer different generations the opportunity to learn and enjoy the delights of cookery together in this fantastic one day course.

Preparing and cooking food together can play an essential part in a child's education, but most importantly it can be a lot of fun! This course can give you the chance to bond with your child through enjoyable learning and teamwork whilst under the guidence of our highly skilled, professional and personable tutors.

We are also very pleased to announce that Raymond Blanc will personally teach the class on Monday 14th April. On all other dates in 2008, the course will be taught by our Cookery School Tutors.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Children's Courses - One Day Course

The children's cookery school course is guaranteed to educate, inspire and exhaust even the most unlikely junior master-chefs.

The pressure for many of us to find exciting and interesting activities to occupy our children during the school holidays can be daunting. Almost as daunting as persuading them that healthy eating can be fun! With this in mind, Raymond Blanc has created this course.

The pace will be fast, furious and most of all fun. The budding chefs will learn some of the techniques and secrets of Raymond's fabulous cuisine.

They will explore the grounds and kitchen garden and create a feast for lunch, before enjoying an an indulgent afternoon of all things sweet ~ the perfect soufflé, a chocolate tasting and creating one of Raymond's favourite childhood desserts 'Floating Islands'.

This one day course is inclusive of a days tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school. A typical itinerary commences with the morning session starting at 9:00am (please check in at 8:45am). After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm when course certificates are presented and the day comes to a close.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

Fish and Shellfish - Two Day Course

The best catch for each season. Develop your knife and filleting skills and create inspiring and delicious fish.

Prepare shellfish, sauces and stocks including top tips on what to ask for from your local fishmonger.

This two day course is inclusive of two day's tuition, morning and afternoon tea and informal lunch in the cookery school each day.

A typical itinerary involves an early start for breakfast as the morning session starts at 9:00am. After lunch the course recommences at 1:20pm until afternoon tea at 4:30pm. Course certificates are presented on the second day.

 

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

The Raymond Blanc Cookery School 4 Day Stage course

A must for anyone with an enthusiasm for the finest cuisine.

Learn to select, prepare and present meat, fish, seafood, starters and desserts as well as tricks of the trade and seasonal specialities with this four day, five night residential course, designed to educate and inspire budding chefs.

All but the totally inexperienced will benefit from the range of techniques included in the course as well as, of course, a relaxing break in beautiful surroundings, gourmet food and fine wines and the pleasure of excellent company.

This course is inclusive of five nights' accommodation, French breakfast, four day's tuition, morning and afternoon tea, lunch with your fellow students in our cookery school and dinner in the restaurant each night with fellow students.

A typical itinerary involves an early start for breakfast as the morning session starts at 9am. After lunch the course recommences at 1.20pm until afternoon tea at 4.30pm. Dinner is served in the restaurant - students meet at 7pm and dine at 7.30pm each evening.

FOR AVAILABLE DATES PLEASE <click here>

COOKING SCHOOL TUTORS & TEACHERS  

NURDIN TOPHAM
Cookery School Head Tutor

Since starting his career at Claridges in 1997 Nurdin has held the following positions:

  • Commis Chef
  • Demi Chef de Partie
  • Development Chef to Raymond Blanc
  • Cookery School Teacher at Le Manoir
  • Le Manoir Cookery School Head Tutor

Nurdin is involved with developing the nutritional aspects of each course, in particular the children’s course. He has also assisted with the research, development and preparation of food for television and most recently with Le Manoir Holistic Breakfast menu.

Since working with Raymond Blanc, Nurdin has been responsible for a number of development projects which have involved writing recipes, preparing food for photo shoots and live cookery demonstrations at a variety of venues across the country. He has assisted Raymond on cookery trips around the world.

VLADIMIR NIZA
Course Tutor

A passionate and enthusiastic chef, nutritionist and food engineer. Vladimir has thirteen years of international experience within outstandingly high quality hotels andrestaurants, including Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star restaurant.

Vladimir teaches on the following Raymond Blanc Cookery Courses:

  • Nutrition & Modern Cuisine
  • Children's courses
  • Seasonal Dinner Parties
  • Food & Wine
  • Canapé & Cocktail
  • Fish & Shellfish
  • Fusion Cuisine

Vladimir is responsible for the development of scientific, health and nutritional aspects of recipes for the two Michelin star restaurant. He played an instrumental part in the American Food Revolution event, hosted at Le Manoir in 2004, working closely with world-class chefs from France and the USA (Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, Nobu, etc). Vladimir speaks Portuguese (his native language) English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.

Nurdin Topham
Vladimir Niza

PROFESSOR JEYA HENRY

Professor Jeya Henry is the Head of Food Sciences and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University, and Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In February 2000, Professor Henry was appointed as a board member to the UK Food Standards Agency, a position he held until March 2003. Professor Henry's major research interests are in obesity, use of traditional plant foods in nutrition, Glyceamic index and the development of functional foods.

His collaboration with Raymond began over twelve years ago when he was involved with Raymond’s pioneering work on applying science to cooking, which culminated in his popular TV programme and accompanying best selling book Blanc Mange.

Together they host La Nutrition et la Cuisine Moderne cookery course, which demonstrates that wholesome food translates into the best nutrition.

DAN DEGUSTIBUS
Master Bread Maker

Many years ago, when Dan Degustibus, as he is known by everyone, was on his way to become a lawyer, he suddenly had second thoughts and followed his heart and continued in the restaurant industry. Good food and drink being his passion, he trained in Germany as bartender, waiter and later in USA as chef.

When he came to the UK in 1990 with his wife and business partner Annette, he taught himself baking and founded the award winning bakery Degustibus. He now owns three successful cafés in London and was featured in many TV and radio programmes, magazines and was one of the first artisan bakers in Britain. Several years later he also started bread making classes and was also:

  • Best Bread in Britain 96 - 97
    Henrietta Green, BBC Book, 'Foodlovers' Guide to Britain'
  • Best Independent Baker of the Year 97
    British Baking Industry Award
  • Best Baker of the Year 98
    British Baking Industry Award

Many articles have been written in the past about De Gustibus by Daily Telegraph, Times, FT and most major food and lifestyle magazines and Dan was frequently expert guest on many national and regional radio stations. He also appeared regularly on TV on BBC, ITV, Central, the Carlton Food Network and Granada.

LE MANOIR AUX QUAT' SAISONS  

The dream and the reality

Each room and suite at Le Manoir has been designed individually to suit every taste. From the exotic Opium and sensual Mon Plaisir to the cool Snow Queen and sleek Vettriano, interior designers Emily Todhunter, Michael Priest and Trevillion have created a wealth of ambience in the beautiful and spacious rooms of Le Manoir.

Main House

Many of the rooms and suites in the Main House have large bay windows with window seats or balconies for you to truly enjoy the views of the extensive gardens and front courtyard. The Main House exudes classic elegance with many traditional floral motifs, antique furniture and rich fabrics.

Superior Bedroom
Hollyhock
Superior Bedroom
Hyacinth
Deluxe Bedroom
Orchid
Deluxe Bedroom
Mimosa

Garden Wing

With views of the garden and private terraces, Le Manoir's exquisite garden wing rooms and suites cater for every taste.

Superior Bedroom
Snow Queen
Superior Bedroom
Mon Plaisir
Deluxe Bedroom
Camellia
Deluxe Bedroom
Passion Flower

The Restaurant

The modern French menu at the two-Michelin starred Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons has been described as 'a twist of imaginative genius' and the cuisine is undoubtedly the focus of every guest's visit. Gary Jones, a Blanc protégé and Michelin starred chef himself, rejoined forces with Raymond as Executive Head Chef in August 1999.

The two-acre kitchen garden produces 90 types of vegetable and over 70 varieties of herb, which are used in Le Manoir's kitchen. Monsieur Blanc has been a champion of the organic movement for the last 20 years.

Gardens

The magnificent two acre vegetable and herb garden produces over 90 types of vegetables, many of which Raymond discovered within his mother's garden. Together with 70 types of herb, this garden supplies the restaurant's kitchen with its daily needs for eight months of the year. Over the last seventeen years almost every inch has been irrigated, re-planted, re-designed and re-seeded.

Monks who occupied the site in the 16th Century originally dug the English water garden, which is fed by natural springs. The ponds are now home to a variety of water plants and fauna.

Following a trip to Japan Raymond Blanc fell in love with Japanese culture. He introduced a very special Japanese tea garden at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, providing a tranquil setting for guests to contemplate the beauty and simplicity of their surroundings.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT LE MANOIR WEB SITE <click here>

  CONTACT DETAILS  
   

Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons
Church Road
Great Milton
Oxford
OX44 7PD
England

Phone:
+44 (0)1844 278881
Fax:
+44 (0)1844 278847
   
Email:
lemanoir@blanc.co.uk
Web:
www.manoir.com