LeBlanq: where cycling meets superstar cuisine

LeBlanq: where cycling meets superstar cuisine

by Great British Chefs 15 April 2021

The world’s best chefs are teaming up with cycling icons to create something very special indeed. Welcome to LeBlanq – truly legendary joyriding.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Commitment, talent, drive and passion – four things that, when they all come together, create true icons of society. For someone to become the very best at what they do and rise to the top requires an almost obsessive amount of hard work and dedication, whatever the specialism. Be it physical prowess, creativity or just becoming a leader in a particular industry, the ambition and work ethic has to be there for a person to become someone others look up to.

It’s no secret just how dedicated a cyclist has to be to compete professionally. Years of training and sacrifice are required just to get a foot on the ladder; to be a champion, win races and make a name for yourself in the sport takes everything a person can give. The same can be said for chefs, too – countless nights spent perfecting their craft and working their way up through the ranks is something only the most passionate can commit to, and it’s only when the foundations are truly mastered that creativity and innovation can be unleashed, separating good chefs from the true greats. Chefs aim for Michelin stars while cyclists set their sights on jerseys, but both of them strive for perfection by making marginal gains in what they do. By improving tiny little details, be it on the plate or on the road, a chef or cyclist’s attention to detail can make all the difference when working in the upper echelons of sport or cuisine.

It’s this synergy between cycling and cooking that gave Michelin-starred chef Ashley Palmer-Watts and celebrated cyclist Sean Yates the idea for LeBlanq. By combining stunning destinations, legendary cyclists and world-class chefs, LeBlanq’s long weekends and shorter day-long excursions offer those who love to cycle, explore and eat well the ultimate experience.

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Riding through Champagne country with Eddy Merckx before winding down with an unforgettable meal cooked by the legendary Raymond Blanc; exploring the Isle of Wight with Sir Bradley Wiggins whilst tasting Claude Bosi’s beautiful food or cycling around the rolling hills of Surrey with a lunch at Steve Drake's Sorrel – these are world-class experiences that will be remembered for life. Whether you’re cycling-mad or just enjoy pedalling your way through beautiful scenery, a dedicated gastronome or someone who simply appreciates good food, LeBlanq brings the two worlds together for the first time for riders of all skill levels.

Ashley and Sean are prime examples of where talent, ambition and attention can lead to. Ashley stormed to the top of the gastronomic world as the executive chef of The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal’s world-famous three-Michelin-starred restaurant, before opening the celebrated two-starred restaurant Dinner by Heston in London. Sean, meanwhile, is one of the most respected names in the world of cycling, winning stages in the Tour de France (including wearing the famous Yellow Jersey in 1994) before leading winning teams as a directeur sportif.

LeBlanq is their ‘victory lap’ – a celebration of everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve in their respective careers. They’ve both put their hours in, making all sorts of sacrifices in the process. Now they want to share their unbridled passion for cycling and fine food with as many people as possible, be it other culinary and cycling greats or those of us who simply share the same interests. Ash and Sean have enlisted world-class talent to join them on the first few joyrides; get to know a little bit more about what’s in store below.

LB:01 Hoy/Palmer-Watts, Perthshire – 9-11 July

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After arriving at the beautiful manor house Dun Aluinn – your base for the weekend – you'll be treated to a five-course menu celebrating the ingredients of the Highlands, specially created by Ashley Palmer-Watts. After a fuelled breakfast the following day, you'll ride around Perthshire with none other than Sir Chris Hoy, stopping off at a few chosen producers, before resting in time for dinner. This spectacular meal – the Tour de Feast – is Ashley's tribute to Sir Chris Hoy's cycling prowess, celebrating his greatest moments throughout his career.

Following dinner you'll get to enjoy a fireside chat with Sir Chris and hear about his time as an Olympian, before getting some rest in preparation for another final joyride the following day.

LB:02 Merckx/Blanc, Champagne, France – 20-22 August

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Arriving in the gorgeous countryside of Champagne at the iconic Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa, you’ll be introduced to the flavours and ingredients of the region via a bespoke dinner created by Ashley Palmer-Watts. The next day, after a breakfast of champions, you’ll ride through the rolling vineyards, stopping here and there to taste some world-class Champagnes.

The Tour de Feast is then presented by Raymond Blanc, who has worked with Ashley to create a one-off seven-course meal celebrating cycling legend Eddy Merckx’s greatest moments, after which you’ll enjoy a fireside chat with Eddy and Sean whilst indulging in wine and whisky tastings. On the final day, test your speed in a time trial or just enjoy the scenery, before a finish line feast created by Ashley.

LB:03 Wiggins/Bosi, Isle of Wight – 17-19 September

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The Isle of Wight offers some stunning cycling routes, and after arriving and getting to grips with the island’s best producers with Ashley’s dinner at the Botanical Gardens, you’ll arrive at your base for the weekend – The Royal Hotel at Ventnor. After breakfast and the ultimate pleasure ride around the island, you can take time to relax before getting ready for chef Claude Bosi’s Tour de Feast, which pays tribute to the amazing feats of Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Spend the evening talking with Sir Brad and Sean Yates about their time as professional riders before spending the final day taking part in time trials, enjoying coffee with the pro riders and finishing things off with a stunning meal cooked by Italian chef Francesco Mazzei.

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This is just a brief overview of what each LeBlanq event has to offer, but it’s clear that the combination of world-class cycling and gastronomy can create once-in-a-lifetime experiences. With a roster of chefs and cyclists who are true icons in their chosen worlds and stunning locations in which to enjoy their stories and successes, LeBlanq is something very special indeed.

For more information on LeBlanq’s upcoming joyrides and how to join one, visit their website.