I, for one, very much appreciate his micro-idiocy. The rooms and suites at Le Manoir are stunning. So how does he manage the high expectations of his guests?
“Some guests love a lot of attention, while others want to be left alone. We train our staff to adjust accordingly and allow for flexibility with each guest. When we set high standards, as we do here, guests’ expectations are also high,” he explains.
“I wanted to create the kind of luxury that is inclusive not exclusive. We want everyone to feel welcome here.” Clearly Raymond and his team know exactly what their guests are looking for in the Le Manoir experience. “Modern guests travel all the time,” he says. “They are exhausted. So when they take their family, or their lover or their loved one to a hotel, they want to feel well.
“They want to enjoy the menu, the Manoir, the grounds. They want to relax and also feel excited to be here.”
I can’t imagine anyone staying at Le Manor and not enjoying all that this incredible hotel-restaurant has to offer.
Raymond successfully cracks open his second egg.
“See… parfait!” he beams. I’m looking at a gorgeous yellow yolk. When you boil it, leave it to swim for another 30 or 40 seconds, and you have a perfect soft-boiled egg,” he advises. Look, it’s barely coagulated. It’s trembling, you can see.”
More of a hard-boiled egg lover, I can still appreciate the freshness and express my appreciation of the golden-hued egg.
“Ha! Don’t be mistaken by colour,” Raymond warns me. “A lot of eggs are not free-range at all. They either use colouring or give maize feed to the chicken so the yolk looks more yellow.”
So what should a healthy yolk look like?
“The best eggs are not a deep orange colour; they are from corn-fed chickens with less sugar, a lower glycaemic index, lower starch content. These are much more natural eggs.”
We talk about supermarket food now containing fewer nutrients than ever before – many covered in harmful pesticides.
“Absolutely,” agrees Raymond. “We are being poisoned.”
Is the plan to cultivate more land at Le Manoir part of a grand design to produce all their own food – and maybe sell some to the public via a farm shop?”
“You put your finger on it,” he agrees. “In fact my next filming with the BBC will be all about how we are being poisoned. The trouble is that the consumer is attached to what the food looks like on the outside, rather than the inside.”
Is he talking about the wax coating on much of our supermarket fruit and veg?
“Yes, some fruits and vegetables are waxed to improve their shine and seal in the moisture,” Raymond tells me. “And we consistently are offered the same shape, the same colour.
“Natural apples don’t look like this! They have mixed up the varieties to create the perfect apple that is resistant to disease.
“The apples we eat today often have five or six times fewer nutrients in them than the apples our parents enjoyed. We are creating huge health problems because our food is heavily deficient in the vitamins and minerals we need.”
Is Le Manoir purely organic then?
“Definitely! All our food grown here at Le Manoir is organic. I would love to do a film where I grow an organic fruit and then compare it to something grown intensively, maybe a chicken or some wine,” replies Raymond passionately.
“Did you know some wines have up to 250 chemicals in them?”
I didn’t and I’m shocked.