Jamie Blogs For The Huffington Post

Raymond Blanc is a whirlwind of a man. A wind tunnel of ideas, wisecracks and long, hilarious, partially understandable jokes. He’s like the naughty boy at school that is cleverer than all the teachers. I was asked to work alongside Monsieur Blanc for a project recently and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands as I knew it would likely be an adventure that involved some excellent food and drink. I was not wrong.

Over the course of a photo shoot and a couple of dinners we became engaged in some particularly freewheeling conversations. His mind crackles with enthusiasm for a career that has lasted and grown over the years like a culinary Elvis Costello. It got me thinking a lot about creativity and longevity. Raymond is a self-taught chef of the highest order but also, a businessman who runs a world renowned hotel and a chain of restaurants. He has started a music festival, runs mentorships, lectures and courses. 27 of his trainee chefs have gone on to win Michelin Stars.

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All of this however starts with the dish. Creativity at this level has to start with the basics – the onions, the garlic, the oil. A love for something that exists at the very basis of what you do; the part that you would be doing regardless of the crowd having moved on to something else. As Monsieur Blanc waxed lyrical over a particular foraged mushroom we were soon to taste, I am reminded of that spark that I long to hold close for many years.

I have however been guilty of misunderstanding the creative process in the past. As a teen reading Kerouac I imagined the act of creating as two frenzied weeks, 24 hour outpourings – bathed in Woody Allen’s Manhattan black and white. The truth is often far more pedestrian:

Read the full article in full at the Huffington Post website

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