The man behind the chef: Benoit Blin

The Staff Canteen

In association with

HEADLINE SPONSORwestlandslogopurple_HighRes  

In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2015 at the Hospitality Show, NEC Birmingham on January 19 – 21, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage. We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites!

Benoit Blin is the chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saison. The 47-year-old from Normandy, France, is one of Europe’s leading pastry chefs, famed for working at Raymond Blanc’s legendary venue and we are delighted to be working with him.

Benoit’s passion was to work with the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF).   In 1991 he became chef de partie in pastry at the Ritz Paris and that’s where his artistic skills developed.  During that period, every Friday evening, he would finish his job at the Ritz, and rush across Paris to a sugar course run by Monsieur Jean Creveux, in order to work with the MOF. In 1994, he left the Ritz as the senior sous chef and got married. Three months later he accepted a job at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.  He joined the staff as head pastry chef in January 1995 and hasn’t looked back.

At The Staff Canteen we want to see what makes chefs tick. We asked Benoit a few questions about what he gets up to when he’s not in the kitchen:

What made you want to be a part of The Staff Canteen Live?Benoit_Blin

Well, my colleague asked me to be a part of it! He promised me we would have a good day. I have known Mark Morris for quite a while and I know the objective of The Staff Canteen is to create a tool for chefs and pastry chefs. I’ll always work hard to promote the art of being a pastry chef every time there’s an opportunity. It’s a way for me to say thank you and also get to enjoy a great day at such a gathering of chefs in Birmingham.

Did you always want to be a chef? Where did it all start for you?

It started very young - very early age. To be honest, it started when I was at school - I must have been 8 or 9 years old - and I had to write an essay about a profession of some kind so I kind of set my eyes on being a chef. Not a pastry chef, but a chef, I wrote my essay, and that must have been my best ever scoring note for that year and it kind of motivated me. I think by the time I was about 10 or 11 years old, I knew I wanted to be a chef.

What do you do in your spare time?

When I get some spare time I try to really look after my family. I try to spend as much time as possible with my family because the art of cooking takes up a lot of your time. I enjoy watching rugby. I do not play because, unfortunately, I can’t take the risk of not being able to turn up to work one day but I really enjoy watching it. My son was playing for a few years when he was here before moving to university. I also play piano. Not with an audience, it’s just for me to relax whenever I get chance.

What’s one thing you could tell us that nobody else will know?

I’ve got a lovely little dog. It’s a little pug breed called rocky. There you go, I hope that can be of interest.

What was the last album you bought?

Last album? Well I’ve just bought some songs from my Glasgow band, Simple Minds. They are songs I used to listen to when I was young but, the last album I bought was Supertramp – Even in the Quietest Moment.

Chocolate or cheese?

Definitely chocolate.

>>> Read more in the Behind the Chef series here

Marco or Gordon?


What’s your worst injury or cut in the kitchen?

Well, I’ve seen serial burns. One of my colleagues was melting down caramel in the microwave and not being very careful with it. He took it out of the microwave with it leaking over his forearm and it was really, really bad. For me, when I was a young lad I made a silly mistake during my military service. I used a butcher knife to slice a tomato when I was doing staff food. It was extremely sharp and chopped the end of my fingers off with the tomato.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

That’s a good question. I ask myself the same thing every day. Looking back with what I know now I would have certainly tried to play rugby but would I have made it as a professional? Maybe not!

Benoit will be joining us for The Staff Canteen Live. He will be performing at 14:30 on Wednesday, January 21, at The Hospitality Show in Birmingham. We are extremely excited to welcome such a well respected name in the industry.

By Tom Evans

The Hospitality Show takes place at the NEC Birmingham from January 19-21, 2015. Registration for the show is open, click here for more information. 

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live 2015 at The Hospitality Show here

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th November 2014

The man behind the chef: Benoit Blin