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MobyP

The Fat Duck 2004

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A minor bit of gossip - when I was at the Restaurant show, I happened to be in the same room as Heston and some of his business associates as they were approving some very attractive looking artwork for menus. I'm fairly sure it was for the Fat Duck, but could have been for the Hind Head, but it looked a bit flash for a pub.

You can also look out for an article about Heston's latest obsession with Medieval food in a forthcoming edition of History Today magazine...

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they haven't updated the website simply because they have far too much going on at the moment, I mentioned it to Heston in January and he had already written the update for the site the previous August, but the designers hadn't done it yet. I then Mentioned it again to Ashley a few weeks ago and the site is on the to do list, which is getting longer day by day.

I will see if I can find out when it may be up and running again, but don't hold your breath with the Hinds and the Molecular Gastro student thing happening in the new Lab set up, it may be some while yet.

Alex


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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The Christmas alc and specials menus are up on the web site. The degustation menu, with the exception of one desert, looks pretty much unchanged.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Moby, the mara de bois has been on for ages, they sue them when available to variate from the bacon and egg ice cream. I had that last time I was there some 6 months ago, however where they are getting wild strawberries from at this time of year I have no Idea, Time to drop them a line I think.

Alex.


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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I just came across this link on another thread and thought that people might be interested in; an article on molecular gastronomy from the Independant

But I'm not sure we can call it molecular gastronomy now. The next culinary arts movement; Culinary Constructivism


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Very interesting! My summary understanding is that there are two strands to what has been called "Molecular Gastronomy" and these have resulted from advancement in the scientific understanding of food. There is a third strand which when combined with the first two, might aptly be termed "Holism".

1) Physics: The composition of an ingredient will determine the cooking method to achieve optimum taste and texture. For example, the proteins in meat coil at higher temperatures and squeeze out the juice which dries the meat, at the same time 'flavour molecules' burst and reduces the flavour of the end product, hence long slow cooking at low temparatures of certain ingredients will produce optimum results.

2) Chemistry: Why do some ingredients combine better than others? It has been discovered that at a certain level they share similar chemical characteristics. For example, white chocolate and caviar share enough similar amino acids to define a natural combination - indeed Heston loves this matching. There exists a repeatable chemical test across ingredients, hence an array of unconventional but enjoyable matchings are open to development.

3) Neurology: The eating "experience" (the chemicals and neurotransmitters triggered in the brain to create pleasure) are in fact influenced by ALL our senses -smell, sight, taste, texture (touch) and sound. The idea of taste/texture combinations creating a superior eating experience is long known but has been little understood. Heston's research grant and laboratory are geared to taking this several steps further by exploring how the senses can be best engaged to produce the most desirable neurological impact. For example, eating certain ingredients with headphones or combining an ingredient cooked on the plate with a separate smell and so on.

To me it is the collection of these three elements - "Holism" - that set Heston apart as world's greatest pioneering chef. My firm belief is that he is capable of etching a page in history with his work; a page that will prove so much more that a culinary phase or fashion. The real value from his research is still a little way off....but it will come.

Footnote: The likes of sardines on toast sorbet have represented a confusion in this area (previously to me and I'm sure to others). There is no chemical basis for this match, it is a dish that represents 'what I can do with a PacoJet' - something which a number of restaurants experiment with. Heston has other 'new fangled' gadgets that produce "different" end products. These are neither 'molecular' nor 'holistic' but have grabbed media column inches and may have hampered appreciation/understanding of this branch of the culinary art. I would much sooner see a tasting menu that exclusively reflected "holism".


Edited by Marlyn4k (log)

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I think that terms like 'world's greatest pioneering chef' do a disservice to Heston. In the end all he's trying to do is to bring his own vision of dining to the public, it's the obsession of the press to rate everyone's creative output. Despite the well publicized differences The Fat Duck is still very much in the typical mould of Michelin dining. The two meals I've had there (one 2* and one 3*) were amongst the best I've had in Britain (although well behind Anthony's, Leeds). Nevertheless, they did not live up to the overdone 'world's greatest pioneering chef' hype of the food press. Indeed, Heston's love of science seems more a personal hobby than something that affects his menu. If he had discovered a virgin culinary seem to mine as so many people seem to believe (I don't think he claims to), then surely he would be changing his menu with a frequency that reflected this hitherto untapped resource instead of leaving it as it has been for the last three or four years.

Surely, comments like yours Marlyn are based on what you read about The FD not on what you have eaten there, because calling someone the 'world's greatest pioneering chef' on the basis of what they haven't done yet is not only unfair pressure on that person, but unfair on others who have achieved something.

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Whilst I appreciate that many including Heston find it uncomfortable to use the term "Molecular Gastronomy", essentially it is Gastronomy, the eating of fine food, and molecular, not some high convoluted lab work but a study of food beyond the visible boundary of tastes, example: if you make a plain butter sauce with no vinegar or lemon juice then the flavour will dominate whatever else is on the fork or spoon, add some of the above and all of a sudden other flavours can come through.

Now as chefs we all know this but what is happening nowadays is that more questions are being asked and, thankfully, the answer that "it just works when you do that" is no longer acceptable in the modern kitchen.

Consequently we strive to find the true answer, the fat in the beurre blanc coats the microscopic pores on the tongue, masking it from the other flavours, the acid merely cuts through the fat and opens up our pores to the flavours so we may enjoy the meal. Sometimes the fat can work for itself, chocolate being a prime example, the chocolate just melts at body temperature and all the flavour molecules coat the tongue to provide a much prized sensation. Real chocolate that is not mars bars and the like.

Alex


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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Alex...couldn't agree with you more.

Dirk...I've eaten there many times (well 8). I think the food is fascinating (see also above footnote). What is 'pioneering' is the concept, passion and direction which, in time, will deliver defining results. The research grant is just a first step.

The fact that a food product may be made into a froth, jelly, sorbet or ice-cream by using a clever gadget does not appeal to me - and you get some of that at The Fat Duck (have not been to Anthony's). The concept of salmon and liquorice having a chemical match which when executed properly delivers a 'higher' sensation does appeal. Likewise the cooking method to optimise taste and texture or the neurological impact of beetroot and orange jellies having reverse colours. In the latter case it is not a question of whether that offering works for me, but more the neurological concept behind it being researched in Heston's lab with a dedicated passion.


Edited by Marlyn4k (log)

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Very interesting! My summary understanding is that there are two strands to what has been called "Molecular Gastronomy" and these have resulted from advancement in the scientific understanding of food.  There is a third strand which when combined with the first two, might aptly be termed "Holism".

I don't understand the root (or to be honest) the meaning of your term. Please explain. Why did you pick this word?


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Tarka...the whole (eating experience) is the sum of many parts (more than previously considered) where the end result is greater than the sum of the parts.

Definition here

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Surely, comments like yours Marlyn are based on what you read about The FD not on what you have eaten there, because calling someone the 'world's greatest pioneering chef' on the basis of what they haven't done yet is not only unfair pressure on that person, but unfair on others who have achieved something.

Welcome to the eGullet forums Dirk and thanks for a thought provoking post. Have to say I agree with a lot of the sentiment in your post. To me, The Fat Duck is one of a group of restaurants that is pioneering in the world of culinary arts. People might like to check out the whole forum documenting the birth of Grant Achatz's new Chicago restaurant Alinea and this thread about Moto restaurant in Chicago especially the last page about levitating food.


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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