'A food intolerance has become almost like a fashion item'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Award-winning chef patron of two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons Raymond Blanc has remarked on the multiplication of customers with food intolerances, saying that to have one 'has become almost like a fashion item.' 

The French chef, whose Oxfordshire restaurant with has been a hotbed of talent since it was launched in 1977 told Country Life magazine that he believes restaurant kitchens resemble hospitals due to customers' food intolerances caused by the chemicals used in farming.

While he said that to have a food intolerance "has become almost like a fashion item," the chef said that he doesn't believe people are pretending to have intolerances - but rather that they had damaged their metabolisms with industrially-produced, intensively-farmed, chemical-ridden foods. 

Calling for a more conscious approach to food preparation and consumption, the chef said that Britons had spent too long ignoring the provenance and means of production of their food, and that we were now beginning to measure the "ill-health and misery" that stem from that. 

"We have been self-destructing, but we're starting to appreciate the cost," he said.

"We're thinking about those chemicals and putting them together with our ill-health.

"You should see the board in my kitchen when we take orders – no milk, no flour, no lemon – it's more like a hospital.

"A food intolerance has become almost like a fashion item, but these are true allergies, provoked by what we eat and the environment in which we live."

To counter the problem, the chef believes that more food should be produced in Britain, where chemical use can be monitored more closely than with imported goods. 

Ever the optimist, Raymond also stated that the pandemic - during which the 70 year-old isolated himself and produced many a cooking tutorial to help people see the lockdown through -  has shown that people are not only capable but eager to invest themselves in what they eat. 

He said: "I think coronavirus will help a lot long term because people have reconnected with growing and cooking for themselves. I hope it will last."

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 24th August 2020

'A food intolerance has become almost like a fashion item'