Benoit Blin was born and raised in Villedieu-les-Poêles, in Bass Normandy, near le Mont Saint-Michel, situated on the borders of Brittany. He always wanted to be a chef as far back as he can remember. However, one day around age 9 or 10, his mother was cooking some pigeons, and told him that if he wanted to be a chef, to put his hands on the squab, start cleaning it up and all the rest, which he didn’t care for at all…..no meat! His next exposure was with an aunt, who stopped by a pastry shop with him, and the rest is history.
At age 12, during holidays, his parents would take him to a bakery to work at 4:00am in the morning which he really enjoyed. At age 15, he had to make a choice to continue studying or go to an apprenticeship, so he spent a week at school, and three weeks apprenticing as a baker for the next two years in Villedieu-les-Poêles.
He learned that baking was more of a production, and that he enjoyed the little things and details, which is more the pastry side. So he did a second apprenticeship of two years as a specialized pastry chef in Granville, 30 miles from home. At age 19, he served his one year in the military at “The cercle des officiers mariniers”, which was a French Navy Officer Catering Hotel in the town of Cherbourg. He negotiated with the Navy so that he would have time to study and take the master pastry exam, the “Brevet de Maîtrise Pâtissier” during his military service, of which he completed the three theoretical parts, of the five parts, in that year.
At age 21, he met another pastry chef, Bernard Meiss, in Coutances, while he was working in a bakery, and 18 months later Chef Meiss helped young Blin pass the Master Exam. After passing the exam, he went to work at the Normandy Hotel in Dauville, near Caen, France, as a pastry chef in a gastronomic restaurant.
His sole passion however, was to work with the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF), who are awarded that by the President of France. Two years later, after being on the waiting list for 8 months, Chef Blin became the Chef de Partie in pastry at the Ritz Paris in 1991 and that’s where he began to develop his artistic skills. During that period from 1991 to 1995, every Friday evening, he would finish his job at the Ritz, and rush across Paris to a little sugar course, in the 6th Arrondissement, run by Monsieur Jean Creveux, an 80 year old teacher, who has taught about 30 MOF’s in his career.
In 1994, he left the Ritz as the Senior Sous Chef, got married that fall, and it took him 3 months to say yes to Great Chef Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. He joined the staff as Head Pastry Chef in January 1995 and hasn’t looked back since, (19 years ago).
In 1999, Great Chefs was able to prevail upon him to do just one dessert, Le Café Crème, a chocolate cup with concentrated espresso ice cream, topped by a Kirsch sabayon. In 2012, Chef Blin won the World Cup in pastry for the UK, Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie.