Gary Jones has left Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons after 23 years as executive head chef, to “pursue new opportunities”. Earlier this year, he was presented with the prestigious Special Award by the Craft Guild of Chefs (pictured) for making a ‘significant impact on the industry’. Previous winners have included his boss at Le Manor, Raymond Blanc.
Quite apart from thrilling tens of thousands of diners and maintaining Le Manoir’s stellar reputation for more than two decades, Gary has acted as mentor and coach to a generation of younger chefs who have passed through his kitchen on the way to great things – including 25 who have subsequently won Michelin stars.
Originally from Merseyside and the holder of a black belt in karate, Gary worked under the late Michel Roux at the Waterside Inn in Bray before joining Le Manoir in 1990. He moved on after four years to work as the chef on Richard Branson’s private island, Necker, but Raymond Blanc brought him back to head the Manoir’s kitchen team in 1999.
Gary said: “Le Manoir has been an extraordinary environment in which to work, provided me with a platform to develop my skills, but more importantly, to develop some fantastically talented chefs over so many years, who have gone on to shape the wider industry. I have enjoyed Raymond Blanc’s mentorship, support and guidance throughout this time.”
A spokesman for Le Manoir said: “We thank Gary for his long service and his great contribution to mentoring the next generation of chefs; we wish him well in his future endeavours.”
The spokesman added, perhaps a little strangely, “Raymond Blanc remains chef-patron at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and an integral part of its leadership.”