Saturday, September 10, 2011


Don't you feel cheated when something fails to deliver, doesn't offer what it says on the tin!

This happened to me recently when I walked into a "Maison Blanc" patisserie. The promise of something backed by the famous Raymond Blanc was very appealing. I was not naive enough to think he would actually be there, or in fact had ever stepped over the threshold. However, I did expect it to deliver his reputation for good service and good food. Sadly it failed miserably on both counts.

As we entered the shelves were full of Raymond Blanc cookbooks, most of which adorn my bookshelves, his merchandise filled the area. This it seems is where he stops and Maison Blanc takes over.

Staff were indifferent, and the food we ordered was so bad we returned it. Lettuce was brown, cucumber way past being edible and bread so thin in sandwich it couldn't be persuaded to be lifted away from the filling without falling apart.

The waiter removed the food, said he would only charge for the drinks. Very kind of him! When we explained the problem he said he would speak to the kitchen. He returned saying they were now putting out fresh salad. Since when did a kitchen need to be told by customers that it was time to put out fresh ingredients?

On arriving home I went on to the website and lodged my complaint. A message came right back saying I would be contacted within 72 hours. A week passed, nothing. I was feeling really cheated by Monsieur Blanc so decided to write directly to him at
"Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons"

Within a few days I had a reply. I was excited to see the envelope, but the excitement was short lived, as basically what it said was "Maison Blanc has nothing to do with me!" I was shocked. How can he allow his name to be used in a way that can only undermine his reputation. Has he no regard for people who assume because of his name they will be assured of good service and good food? Obviously not in this case. He did not even make an attempt at an apology.

Apparently he sold them on in 2007. Now he acts only as a consultant in a limited capacity. And no doubt still makes money from them.

He did pass on my complaint and I received an apology from head office of new company, along with £15 in vouchers, and a promise to look into the problem. However I doubt if I will ever use them as the experience has left such a bad taste, but at least some attempt at putting things right was made.

I am sorry that my opinion of Raymond Blanc has be spoiled in this way. He has gone down in my estimation.

I know he is not the only chef who puts his name to establishments and merchandise, but surely they have some responsibility to customers who think they are paying for something they are not.

Chefs seem to have been elevated to superstar status over the last few years. Maybe it's time for them to stick to what they know best. I have no doubt Raymond Blanc is a first class chef, but sadly for me that is where he ends.

1 comment:

At Anna's kitchen table said...

Oh, dear, that's SUCH a shame!!! :-((