Read and explore The Richmond Magazine’s February 2011 issue featuring an interview with Raymond Blanc:
YOU live and learn.
Back in the distant, callow days of my youth, I found myself alone in Paris in search of good food and wine.
Armed with A-level French and a palate that was more Marco Polo than Marco Pierre White, I settled on a sophisticated-looking cafe – it had an awning – and boldly ordered un coquelet au something with a glass of wine.
Or so I thought.
Unfortunately, however, accent has never been the most secure aspect of my grasp on the Gallic tongue.
Scribbling down my order, the mature and sultry waitress shot me a look which could, conceivably, have been an involuntary response to my overpowering animal magnetism and charisma, but was more likely an expression of incredulity at the tastes of this imbécile d’anglais.
Five minutes later all became clear, when my ‘coquelet’ duly turned up.
Except that it wasn’t un coquelet at all – it was ‘un cocktail’. Un socking great pink cocktail, as it happened, with a quite ludicrous orange umbrella.
To accompany it, a glass of cheap red wine. And that was dinner.
Welcome to the wonderful world of French cuisine.
If only I’d had someone like Raymond Blanc to guide me across the field of gastronomic dreams that is the enchanted city by the Seine.
Too late, alas. But at least I’ll be ok in Teddington now, thanks to the recent arrival of Raymond’s White Brasserie chain.
Read all about it in Helene Parry’s highly entertaining interview with the acclaimed French chef (P8).
Nor is Monsieur Blanc the only grand fromage to feature in our pages this month.
Stage legend Sir Derek Jacobi brings his longawaited portrayal of King Lear to the Richmond stage this spring, once the production has finished its London run, and our Theatre Editor Lucy Johnston caught up with him during a preChristmas lull.
Her resulting piece (p13) captures exquisitely the character traits of this shy, modest master of the craft.
Throw in some beautiful tigers, seductive lingerie – in itself enough to bring out the tiger in one – and the usual digest of local events, and you have all the makings of a good night in.
Curl up and enjoy it. Avec un cocktail.