Celebrated restaurant director Alain Descenclos is to retire from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin-star restaurant.
Descenclos is to be replaced as maitre by M. Mourad, who has been established as successor for “many years”, according to Le Manoir.
However, Descenclos, will not be leaving Le Manoir completely. The maitre, who has been a key member of the team for over 30 years, has been invited by Blanc to remain involved in a new role as consultant and ambassador.
Blanc is also helping Descenclos to set up a consultancy company that will deal with wine, service and stock control to ‘advise the best in the world.’
Descenclos said: “It has been an honour and a priviledge to work alongside M. Blanc for the past 36 years. As a host, I have always strived to translate every meal into an experience for the guest.
“I shall miss Le Manoir terribly, but I am looking forward to continue to oversee the development of the exceptionally high standards at Le Manoir and to also starting my own adventures.”
To celebrate Descenclos’ retirement, Raymond Blanc welcomed 100 friends and industry professionals, including Silviano Giraldon, Diego Maschiaga and David Moore, to le Manoir for a farewell party in La Belle Epoque, the restaurant's private dining room.
Recognised as one of the Great Restaurant Managers in the UK by the Academy of Food and Wine, Descenclos is credited by Le Manoir as nurturing and inspiring ‘a great number’ of front of house staff into management positions.
His friendship with Blanc spans 36 years, since they met at La Sorbonne in Oxford where Blanc was a young commis. Descenclos joined Blanc at Le Manoir in 1979, and helped the restaurant win two Michelin stars in 1981.
Paying tribute to his friend, Raymond Blanc said: “M. Alain is one of the greatest and has helped shape the culture of Le Manoir and define its excellence, unfailing giving his best to hospitality through the years and becoming the face of Le Manoir. He is leaving a legacy behind him that will continue for years to come.”