Wednesday 30 July 2008

Orlando Murrin

I am not prone to hero worship
and Orlando Murrin is an unlikely hero.

Orlando was the Editor of Good Food when I was reading it from cover to cover trying to find ways of enjoying the cooking I was doing for my family. He has a fresh and engaging writing style and I began to believe that he had created this wonderful monthly food magazine just for me, subsidising the production by selling it to a million other people.

Five years ago Orlando left Good Food and moved to the south of France with his partner, Peter Steggall, to start a restaurant with rooms attached. Or maybe it should be described as luxurious accommodation with a gastronomic experience attached. I had an extended period of mourning and then I got on with cooking my way through his archive recipes.

Imagine my delight on finding his newest book,
A Table in the Tarn,
hot off the press, in the bookshop on the Rue de Rivoli. I read it on the train south from Paris and realised that we would be driving almost past their front door on our way to Provence.

Le Manoir de Raynaudes
is so secluded that nobody actually drives past the front door.
When we finally arrived in late afternoon
I was aghast at the thought
that we might interrupt the preparations for dinner.
MrM insisted that we should at least look inside.

I stepped into the courtyard and immediately met Orlando.

He introduced himself

“I’m Orlando”.

My reply is etched into my memory
because the words that surfaced from my subconscious
bypassed the normal editing process
which gives a veneer of good manners.

“I know” I gasped “I’m a HUGE fan”.

He did not immediately call the local gendarmerie and ask them to remove me. We were taken on a tour of Le Manoir by Peter, looking at the elegant apartments and the delightful terrace with views across the countryside to the mountains and all the time I was clutching my book which had been autographed.

I am thrilled to have this extraordinary memory
of a soft gold late afternoon
at Le Manoir de Raynaudes
and I am still completely star struck
by the most courteous and unlikely of heroes.


trash said...

you know that reply makes you an honest to goodness groupie style fan, right?

RW said...

You have had SOME adventure.

Anonymous said...

That's really neat. I will have to check that cookbook out.

Ali Honey said...

Can you tell what shade of green I am turning in envy of the whole french experience. Lucky Mrs. M and Mr.M.
Keep posting lots of photos please I love them!

BreadBox said...

How utterly fabulous!


Kitten's Lost Her Mittens said...

Too cool! I hadn't heard of him before, but since he comes so highly recommended I may have to try out some of his recipes!

Fairlie - said...

What a great experience! And, of course, your reply was completely acceptable in the circumstances.

(PS - I've passed an award onto you on my blog.)

Anonymous said...

FABULOUS! Absolutely fabulous!

Anonymous said...

MrsM's cover story for being in the area was that we were checking out the entombment at Monesties nearby. "Vaut le detour" in Michelin speak.

PS - I was the one who asked for the autograph as MrsM was rather overcome

dottycookie said...

And he didn't invite you to stay for dinner?! Argh! I must be extraordinarily uncouth as yur reply seems perfectly fine to me under the circumstances.

I remember him in the magazine too. And I remember that photo - he always looked a bit cheeky. I imagined him having a mid-Atlantic accent; perhaps I don't want to have that illusion spoiled.

I have Raymond Blanc's autograph on one of his cookery books, does that count?

Anonymous said...

DC - we were invited to stay for a drink but the pressure of our busy schedule meant that we had to press on to our destination for the evening.

I am not sure that MrsM would have been able to cope anyway

Gina said...

What an adventure! I think your reply sounds quite acceptable too! But that's me... not much gets edited before it escapes my mouth!

walter and me said...

serendipity! Your response was normal, thankfully. What a wonderful treat, too.

driftwood said...

oh I've just had that cook book from the library, and I read it from cover to cover, I loved all the tales about the house and the food, what a great treat to actually see it, and such a shame you couldn't stay longer.

Allison said...

WOW I am in la la land reading this post--the whole French excursion has been so dreamy . . .

kristina said...

I love your reply! I'm sure I would have said something quite similar :) I actually have the book on order at the moment from Amazon! K x

Mary said...

I think your response was totally understandable. Funny, but understandable.

I will keep an eye out for this book.

Unknown said...

I laughed out loud when I read this, and empathised too, I have been a "huge fan" for years and can well imagine my own comments in the same situation. Wonderful story, thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs MI wish I had known the importance of that mystery visitor earlier in the summer. I am flattered, surprised and delighted to find myself in your blog.In answer to dottycookie, I do not exactly have a transatlantic accent, but I was born in the United States and I am told a faint trace of American accent remains.To everyone else who has written kind things about me or the book - and of course to Mr and Mrs M - best wishes from Orlando