Raymond Blancs emotional Brexit outburst: What a mess

Raymond Blanc has recipe to halt French cuisine s decline

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The Frenchman has become a household name in the UK, having hit screens with Masterchef in the early Nineties. By this time Blanc already had a stellar CV under his belt. Yet, the chef went on to achieve great fame, landing yet more TV appearances and a number of books.

Like many foreign nationals who have made a life in the UK, Blanc had mixed emotions after the Brexit result.

In 2018, he revealed how he had been the victim of a xenophobic attack while travelling on a train out of London.

He told The Times about how a passenger had said he was glad, “we [Britons] voted you foreigners out” in a bizarre response to Blanc’s coughing fit — a result of his asthma.

Blanc has since made his confusion at the vote clear.

In an emotional tweet from 2019, he wrote: “Brexit — what a mess.

“I have lived 46 years in this wonderful country and having to experience the drama of Brexit, my French side is very emotional and feels a great sadness, while my ‘British side’ tells me, ‘Be calm and carry on!!!’

“But where?”

In the Times interview, despite considering himself “150 percent French”, Blanc admitted he had applied for British citizenship.

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Recalling the altercation between himself and the passenger on the train, he said: “All my life, I’ve tried to bring those two cultures together.

“We have British friends, my children were born in England, I love this country very, very much.

“On that day I felt dark in my heart.”

Blanc, who was awarded an honorary OBE for his work, owns the two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, in Oxfordshire.

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He said while he “was not political,” he believed that Brexit, “might be a mistake”.

In 2016, Blanc was one of the 140 European stars who signed a “love letter” to Britain on the cusp of the referendum.

He joined high-profile figures including Arsene Wenger and signed the letter, which read: “Britain, please stay,” warning that Brexit would threaten the “bonds of admiration and affection” between the UK and Europe.

Brexit was a hot topic within Blanc’s own home, too.

It divided his sons, Olivier and Sebastian, who voted both ways.

More recently, Blanc has spoken about his terrifying battle with COVID-19.

After contracting the virus, he spent four weeks in hospital.

Half of his time saw him stay in a severe Covid ward.

Writing in The Times, he said: “I was confined to bed, surrounded by tubes and monitors, feeling extremely ill.”

He was forced to rely on oxygen tanks to maintain his breathing, narrowly missing being placed on a ventilator.

At 71, the recovery period is arduous.

He lost more than two stone in weight during his stint in hospital, and both his eyesight and dexterity significantly deteriorated as a result.

However, he managed to get through the illness, and will tonight grace our screens with his show, ‘Simply Raymond Blanc’.

You can catch it on ITV One at 8pm.

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