Describing himself as “the Stella McCartney” of sustainable eating, Raymond Blanc, 70, has given his thumbs up to the explosion of vegan offerings in the London dining scene. As reported by the Evening Standard he welcomed the fact that this change was “necessary” and most certainly not a trend.
The quintessential French chef who has embraced the British way of life, described the vegan movement as something which will “challenge chefs in the most extraordinary way”.
Blanc runs Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a 15th-century manor, in Oxfordshire. With a reputation for haute cuisine, the establishment has maintained two Michelin stars for more than 35 years.
Blanc is also president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
“I’ve always been involved in these issues and I’m so glad luxury now has to change. We will have to reinvent ourselves. It’s a revolution which will completely change our habits” he said.
The new lifestyle will “challenge a chef”
“[In London] there are some brilliant chefs who are embracing good ethics … Veganism is an important part too. It is part of a new lifestyle that is necessary and will challenge a chef in the most extraordinary way. It’s good because for too long vegetables have been ignored.”
He often substitutes aquafina (chickpea water) or cashew milk for butter in his recipes.
Blanc was responsible for bringing plant-based dishes to Royal Ascot this year.
At yesterday evening’s Lord’s Dining Club at the home of cricket, Blanc served a Tarte Tatin of celeriac and mushrooms – vegan of course. This is a venue where only Michelin chefs serve their food.
Other chefs have reacted differently to the rise of veganism. It took Gordon Ramsay a long time. He now has a vegan roast at this Bread Street Kitchen. Previously he had famously poked fun at the movement saying that his kids going vegetarian would be his ‘biggest nightmare’. He’d “sit them on the fence and electrocute them”.
Launching his “Roast Revolution” in March, he admitted his previous criticism of veganism had been wrong. ’Vegan is on the rise, we’ve got to adapt and eat a slice of humble pie.’
Ramsay’s restaurants now have a vegan breakfast with tofu eggs.
The vegan chefs, Henry Firth and Ian Theasby and launching their 10 part vegan cookery programme Living on the Veg on ITV in January.