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December 11, 2006

Televisual gastronomy

I’ve been enjoying Heston Blumenthal’s In Search of Perfection, which has recently finished on BBC Two. In it, he perfects some classic dishes using his unique blend of cookery and science, but tries to make them relatively accessible to the home cook.

Take for instance his Black Forest Gateau, which requires chocolate spray paint and vacuum-packed chocolate bubbles. It’s highly impractical yet brilliant at the same time.

The most recent episode I watched – for I’m watching them out of order – was on fish and chips. Not only did he slave over the fish, but the batter itself required reinvention. Beer-battered cod might be well-known but he proved using science that you need to batter it in Vodka to get the mix right.

My only quibble with the series is that he sometimes makes things too accessible. I quite like the ridiculousness of the recipes. The deep-fried chicken for instance. Yes, it required a metal dustbin in a car park, but I was disappointed that Heston felt the need to apologise for the stupidity of it.

Surely his greatest quality as a chef is that he doesn’t give a sh*t how over-the-top it all is, just so long as it tastes great. He is the anti-Delia, and I love him for that.

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