Luxuriate Life was invited to something very special, travelling from London to Paris with none other than legend and chef extraordinaire Raymond Blanc OBE to celebrate the three star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Raymond Blanc has also been working with Eurostar since 2012, curating the menus in the highest-class tier ‘Business Premier’, on a weekly basis.
Raymond Blanc OBE
His renowned Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, lovingly abbreviated to Le Manoir, has maintained not one but two Michelin stars for as long as I can remember and is often considered one of the best places to eat and stay in the UK. Opened in 1984, it quickly rose to be the darling of the food industry due to Blanc’s dogged pursuit of perfection and innate focus on taste, freshness and quality. He has written dozens of cookbooks and is renowned for his incredibly scientific, unashamedly French yet local approach to cooking.
It’s very likely you saw Blanc’s face splashed all over your TV screens last year in Simply Raymond Blanc, showcasing recipes from back home in France but inflected with a quintessentially British flair. In case you cannot tell so far, I am a bit of a fangirl of Mr Blanc, hence why I was so excited to hear about Eurostar’s 10-year anniversary with him and curious to find out what they had planned.
Eurostar & Sustainability
Eurostar is one of the better ways to travel across key cities in Europe. It is the only high-speed passenger service linking London St. Pancras International with city centre stations in mainland Europe (Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and more.) As the world becomes more environmentally-conscious, train travel has become an increasingly popular form of travel, but Eurostar takes it one step further.
From its early days of operation Eurostar has championed the environmental benefits of high-speed rail and strived to bring sustainability to every area of its business – a passenger’s carbon footprint from flying to London would be the same as making up to 13 Eurostar journeys.
Blanc has something else to celebrate though, as Eurostar has also been awarded the highest possible rating, three stars, from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) for its on-board catering. This demands a very high standard of sustainability with ingredients that are seasonal, fair-trade or organic, not air-freighted and sourced from farmers with high environmental and welfare standards. Raymond Blanc’s expertise in this field and commitment to locally sourced, sustainable ingredients has played a significant role in reaching this achievement. Additionally, all Eurostar staff are meticulously trained as to the provenance of the ingredients on the menus and much more.
Limited edition celebratory menu
Until 23 November 2022, nearly 10,000 people will have the chance to enjoy a limited-edition menu served in Eurostar’s Business Premier, with Raymond Blanc carefully curating the most popular dishes from his Eurostar menus over the last ten years.
As part of the celebration, a few of us took the journey from London’s St Pancras to Paris’ Gare du Nord station with Blanc who was able to talk us through the menu and his favourite elements.
The new menu includes mains such as Charolais beef braised in Irancy wine, Jerusalem artichoke purée, roasted Jerusalem artichoke and shallot, as well as sustainably sourced smoked pollock and smoked salmon with red cabbage, red onion and Granny Smith apple salad, topped off with dill and pink peppercorns.
A cheese course harks back to Blanc’s French origins, as he has chosen the most famous cheese (and also his favourite) from his home region, Comté, alongside a beautifully buttery Ferme d’Ulterïa goats cheese and an Agen prune.
As a digestif, a financier is served, made using honey from Eurostar’s bees, which have been lovingly reared by Eurostar colleagues in three beehives. For the past decade, these have been located close to the high-speed Eurostar line in Kent.
Blanc has also worked with Eurostar on his very own gin – Toujours 21. To celebrate the company’s 21st birthday back in 2015, Eurostar partnered with Blanc and the Silent Pool Distillery in Surrey to create a distinctive gin with hints of lavender, citrus and of course, honey notes throughout. To end the menu and the celebration, we were treated to a mini tasting of the gin on board the train, making for a lovely but rather boozy end to the journey.
As the day headed to a close, Blanc commented that “Together, we want to ensure that passengers can enjoy local, fresh quality dishes and start their culinary journey in style.” Cheers to that Raymond, and here’s to another 10 years!
To discover more, visit: eurostar.com
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All imagery courtesy of Eurostar.