Raymond Blanc, chef-patron of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, is one of a growing band of chefs who communicate with the world via Twitter. His messages, which begin ‘Hello friends’ and finish ‘Best, RB’, have a pleasingly personal tone, and he’s not above Tweeting about football. The Good Food Guide caught up with him (and his phone) to discuss the miracle of microblogging.
Some chefs don’t write any of their own Tweets. Do you?
Yes! I do 90% of them.
Why did you join Twitter?
It is natural; simply communication. I have always been a communicator, whether it’s through a book or a TV programme or to the young chefs in my kitchen or the customer. Whatever way or means I have to communicate, I will use it. I think it’s fun, grabbing the phone and going tap-tap-tap.
Do you Tweet from your desk or on the phone?
I use this creation [lovingly waving his iPhone]. I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s an objet d’art; I’m completely mesmerised. I’m not a technological person, even to turn on a machine I need the help of my assistant, so I am just completely impressed by the rich complexity of the technology that they can put into that little phone.
What’s the advantage of being on Twitter?
Twitter is teaching me something in my life which I have never managed to achieve; to say more by saying less. Being limited by a certain number of words is a fantastic discipline. You can use 140 characters, but with a picture it’s 90, and with a big picture it’s only 40! I’m learning and I’m enjoying myself. The way that ideas can move backward and forward, I find that very exciting.
How many followers do you have?
Oh, not many. 36,000. I get maybe three or four responses a day, more than that if I have been on TV.
What makes a great Tweet?
I think they require a little bit of intelligence to avoid the banal. ‘Oh, I am at work today.’ OK, great. I try to write Tweets which have meaning, to say something at the time.
Would you recommend that other chefs join Twitter?
Yes. Oh Yes. Absolutement. Anyone. Whoever you are, you can connect. The problem of course with it is when you don’t have any signal.
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