You can team up with top chefs to serve a gourmet meal at home, says Sandra Carter.

It’s not a takeaway.

True, you turn up at the door of the restaurant and pick up your carrier bag full of little cartons of food to take home.

But you don’t then call the family to sit down quickly before it gets cold.

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Instead, you add your own magic touch before you exclaim ‘Voilà!’ and present a meal that could almost win you a Michelin star.

Voilà At Home is the latest foodie idea from Brasserie Blanc, and their Beaconsfield branch is the first to trial the concept.

During lockdown it’s a brilliant way to get a restaurant-quality meal, and even when restrictions ease, they plan to keep it going for those who are reluctant to eat out these days - or just fancy a lovely dinner at home.

Bucks Free Press:

The confit duck

I made the mistake of thinking I could quickly heat up the cartons and pop dinner on the table. But as I took from the bag beautifully packaged cold dishes, I realised it’s a serious thing to produce a meal designed by Raymond Blanc’s chef team and prepped in their Beaconsfield kitchen.

I needed to get organised.

Each dish comes with a recipe card giving full instructions and timings, or if you prefer watching to reading, the website shows their chef preparing each dish.

My starter choice was Blanc’s signature Cheese Soufflé.

Pour the little pot of breadcrumbs onto a baking tray, put the ready-cooked soufflé on top and bake for 10 minutes until puffed up.

Meanwhile, heat the pot of cheese sauce in the microwave.

Then serve in style: surround the soufflé with the garnish of celery, apple, apricots, walnuts, herbs, crack open the soufflé, pour the rich sauce in, and admire… This was amazingly good, just like the dish tastes in the restaurant.

Next, confit Barbary duck leg. Remove from packaging and ten minutes later you have a gorgeous dish: reheat duck in the oven alongside a superb slice of Dauphinoise potato, warm the carrots, French beans and citrus sauce in pans.

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The recipe card gives details on how to arrange it all elegantly on the plate.

This again was a top quality dish.

Reheating food may not sound ideal, but it all works wonderfully, and obviously slow-cooked duck and Dauphinoise will always have been cooked ahead in any restaurant setting.

My husband meanwhile was enjoying Mediterranean fish soup, a real French classic.

As we were eating at home I could steal a taste of his dishes, and this was the real authentic treat, simply reheated with a pot of rich saffron rouille to whisk in, grated Gruyere and croutons to toss over.

His main was boeuf bourguignon prepared the classic way, marinated overnight in wine then slow-cooked for four hours or so.

It came in a sealed bag so all I needed to do was simmer the bag in water for 15 minutes. Dauphinoise and a tasty mix of mushrooms, lardons and baby onions were heated in the oven. Carrots and beans came to the boil in a pan of water.

All perfectly cooked and he enjoyed every morsel.

Bucks Free Press:

The cheese souffle

We had planned on three courses as a special occasion meal, but the portions were so generous, the dishes so rich, we had no room for our desserts. No problem - every dish comes with the instruction: keep refrigerated and enjoy within 48 hours of collection. This means you can choose any convenient time to collect your order, and it will keep in the fridge until needed.

Anticipation ran high as I looked forward to my Blanc signature pud, chocolate fondant. Popped in the oven for just eight minutes, it was just as it should be, oozing with melted chocolate inside. Adding fine dining elegance was a delectable passionfruit sauce (with directions on creating an artful tear shape on the plate), a rich orange cremeux, orange and ginger confit to decorate the plate, and a few leaves of sorrel to garnish. You can get a fondant from the supermarket, but this version with its gorgeous sauces was in another league.

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Husband’s mango and pineapple crumble was my least favourite, probably because I love a traditional crumble topping rather than almond biscuity crumbs warmed in the oven and popped on a fruit compote. He enjoyed it though.

Of course, chef patron Raymond Blanc didn’t actually cook our meal for us, but his classic French style infuses Brasserie Blanc menus which he developed along with his chef colleague Clive Fretwell.

There’s a good choice of Voilà At Home dishes, most of them favourites from the brasserie’s regular menus with roughly 20 per cent discount.

Mixed cocktails and paired wines can be added to your online order.

We loved it. Of course, unlike a takeaway, you will have to face the washing-up (various baking trays and saucepans). But you really do feel you can claim a “Voilà - enjoy my dishes” moment when you have played a role in cooking a restaurant-quality meal.

Visit for information.