Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets

I don’t normally watch enough TV to trip over something noteworthy enough to write about, and whilst this show is not without its annoyances, it’s still worth 25 minutes of your time a week to see Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets

Raymond Blanc is picking on one theme per episode and then filming 2 or 3 demonstration recipes in a corner of his own massive production kitchen at Le Manoir, cut with a video of him visiting another expert in that theme. It’s directed in a documentary style rather than presented straight to camera, which means you get some of the interaction between Raymond and his army of Sous Chefs as well as an insight into how much difference Being Prepared (and having an enormous professionally equipped kitchen) makes.

I’ve watched the first two episodes on the iPlayer so far, Chocolate and Apples and both had recipes that looked excellent and easy to do at home. One of the high points for me was seeing just how simple chocolate mousse is to create but the most entertaining piece so far was Raymond shouting down a corridor for one of his minions to literally run into the orchard and climb trees in his chef’s whites until he finds a handful of Bramley apples, with the camera crew bouncing along after him like Challenge Anneka.

I’m not the only person who’s spotted some omissions though, anything that could be perceived as product placement has been consigned to Auntie’s cutting room floor. This is annoying because brand and the artisans behind it really make a difference when dealing with top-end chocolate, so you can’t go out looking to buy some when Raymond enthuses about the quality of the chocolate he’s using.

It’s presented very naturally, with an awful lot of Voila and Tres Biens interspersed into the commentary which helps keep your attention on what is a rare opportunity to see a master at work