Yorkshire Life joins Raymond Blanc celebrating Brasserie Blanc Leeds' 5th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 00:09 31 October 2012 | UPDATED: 12:14 28 February 2013

Yorkshire Life joins Raymond Blanc celebrating Brasserie Blanc Leeds' 5th anniversary

Yorkshire Life joins Raymond Blanc celebrating Brasserie Blanc Leeds' 5th anniversary

Yorkshire Life readers help star chef Raymond Blanc celebrate his Leeds brasserie's fifth birthday in style Report by Jo Haywood Photos by Andy Bulmer

When a Yorkshireman prostrates himself at a Frenchmans feet, its safe to say the latter has done a spectacularly good job of winning the former over.

The Frenchman in this particular instance is Raymond Blanc and he has been winning over Yorkshire diners for the last five years at his stylish Leeds Brasserie Blanc. To celebrate this milestone anniversary, the world-renowned chef has hosted a series of events including a dinner for loyal patrons one of whom genuflected at his feet in thanks (and was snapped by a highly tickled Raymond on his phone), a cooking masterclass with pupils from Manston St James Academy in Cross Gates and an exclusive lunch for Yorkshire Life readers.

His passion, enthusiasm and enviable reservoir of energy make him an effusive and attentive host, as our lucky readers discovered for themselves as he made his way round each and every table to chat, joke hes a man who loves to laugh and spread a little joie de vivre.

We are totally delighted to be here in Leeds, said Raymond, in a wide-ranging speech filled with verve and infectious humour. We knew there was business here, and we were right. Its such a thriving city.

Five years is a real landmark; a landmark that we are happy to be celebrating with our most valued customers. It has been a tough time in our industry and we are so grateful that people have continued to support us and are happy that our trade has actually gone up here in the last six months quite significantly.

I know its a clich, but it truly has been an honour to serve you for the last five years. Today is about paying you back and saying thank you for the wonderful hospitality you have shown us.

The menu for our reader lunch was, of course, pitch perfect for the occasion. Chef Vijay Ventakesh and his talented team presented us with with a traditional French country pate to start, its rich meatiness offset beautifully by a deconstructed piccalilli of crunchy vegetables.

Next came a pink parcel of Loch Duart salmon perched prettily on a glossy green bed of perfectly seasoned spinach and sorrel, which added a piquant, lemony bite to the otherwise softly spoken fish.

And for pudding, we were each presented with an edible snowman. Actually, thats not true; it was a summer berry Pavlova stacked high like a sweet sugar snow sculpture surrounded by a fresh fall of jewel-like fruit.

But the lunch was not just an opportunity for us to spoil ourselves although we did, unashamedly it was also a fundraising opportunity for Marie Curie Cancer Care in the Yorkshire region. Five pounds from every ticket was donated to this worthy cause, and more than 1,000 was raised on the day with a raffle in which readers walked away with amazing prizes including a three-course dinner for four at Brasserie Blanc with two bottles of wine, a signed book and a goody hamper; a hair and spa experience at Russell Eaton Lifestyle Salon in Leeds and a fabulous freshwater pearl necklace, valued at 850, from Nicholsons Jewellers in Ilkley.

But back to Raymond the primary attraction for most of our guests (especially the ladies, who he charmed to within an inch of their lives) and his passionately-held views on food.

Food must be local and seasonal, he said. This is the intelligent way of cooking. Its cheaper, the food is fresher and more vibrant and its the only way to keep our communities alive.

Each time you reach out your hand to pick up an apple from China, ask yourself where is the Yorkshire fruit?. If there is a Yorkshire apple available, buy that instead. If not, ask why. Its an environmental and political choice, and its your responsibility to make the right choices every day.

To find out more about Brasserie Blanc, call in to see the team at Victoria Mill, Sovereign Street, Leeds, LS1 4BJ, call 0113 220 6060 or visit brasserieblanc.com

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