Sustainable Gastronomy 2 minutes 22 March 2024

40 Years of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, a Belmond Hotel

We celebrate the outstanding achievements of Raymond Blanc’s beloved house of luxury, set in the village of Great Milton in Oxfordshire

As Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, a Belmond Hotel, celebrates its 40th anniversary, it’s the perfect time to reflect on its status as a pillar of luxury hospitality. It is both a hotel of immense splendour, and one of the several French restaurants that, decades ago, changed the face of British gastronomy. For all 40 of its years, it has held Two Michelin Stars. Under the stewardship of the renowned Raymond Blanc, and now with an extra bit of culinary vigour from Executive Chef Luke Selby, it is the epitome of a restaurant that never lets its standards slip.

More than a hotel and a restaurant, Le Manoir is a destination with a clear, united vision across its business. The expertly manicured garden that surrounds this 15th Century manor house is integral not just to its charms, but to its ethos. For years, the produce of Le Manoir’s kitchen garden has fuelled its menu and formed a part of Raymond Blanc’s unerring commitment to sustainability.

The magnificent estate at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a Belmond Hotel
The magnificent estate at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a Belmond Hotel

Back in 2021, Le Manoir was awarded a Michelin Green Star for actively paving the way towards a brighter future for our industry. "We are driven by ethical, environmental, seasonal and regional values,” Raymond explains. “All produce is either organic, free-range or artisanally produced – much of it from our gardens and heritage orchard. Good nutrition and good food can only start from wholesome ingredients."

These words are perfectly illustrated when visiting Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Diners are often invited to browse the kitchen garden themselves and the highly seasonal menu showcases the exceptional produce grown in the grounds. The cooking is a shining example that flavour and sustainability need not be enemies and, when approached correctly, complement each other brilliantly.

le manoir dish.jpg

The kitchen garden produces over 250 different varieties of organic fruit and vegetables, and this home-grown produce is the star of the show in the restaurant's vegetarian and vegan menus. On-site there’s also a herb garden, a 2,500-strong heritage orchard and a mushroom valley, that all help to power the fabulous cooking.

Any waste produced from the kitchen is treated with a strict zero-landfill approach. This means that bottles and corks are recycled, coffee grounds are used for compost in the mushroom valley, and single-use plastic is shunned at every turn. In the spirit of a closed-loop ethos, state-of-the-art machines are used to turn food scraps into compost, that is then used to grow more delicious vegetables. Any products that need to come from outside the kitchen garden are also sustainably sourced; local farmers are used, scallops are hand-dived and much of the wine list is biodynamic or organic.

As Raymond says himself, "restaurants must step up to their sustainability responsibilities or risk failing the expectations of their customers”, and at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, this attitude extends well beyond the kitchen. The hotel here is famed for its luxury at every turn, but it’s also proving that this doesn’t have to come at the expense of the planet.

The low-waste ethos extends into the hotel, where discarded soaps and candles are given to a local charity to help run craft sessions in the local community, and newspapers are repurposed by being donated to a local animal sanctuary for bedding. Low energy bulbs and sensor lighting keep their electricity consumption low, and rooms are cleaned using environmentally friendly products to keep harmful chemicals at a minimum.

To have acted as a guiding light in the efforts towards a more sustainable hospitality industry, while at all times maintaining such high standards in both the hotel and restaurant parts of the business, is a true testament to the vision and the skill of Raymond and his team. For 40 years, they have been leading the way in luxury – and long may it continue.

In the meantime, why not take a tour of the hotel, restaurant and garden?

Sustainable Gastronomy

Keep Exploring - Stories we think you will enjoy reading