Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection


tony h
 Share

Recommended Posts

Only thing I've seen is the Amazon blurb:

"Perfection" is an eight-part prime-time TV series, hosted by Heston Blumenthal. The series focuses on eight classic dishes - Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash, Spag Bol, Risotto, Roast Beef, Steak and Salad, Pizza and Treacle Tart and Ice Cream. Heston will look at the provenance of these dishes, how to source the best ingredients and what to look for, and of course, how to cook them to 'perfection'. This tie-in book of the same name contains, all Heston's recipes for the classic dishes, and all his hints and tips on how to cook the very best ingredients, as well as fascinating information on the background to these dishes.

i.e. not the definitive account of his haute cuisine we've been looking for.

On a related topic, the Crimbo pipeline for UK cheffy books is looking quite good this year. In addition to Heston we've got Tom Aikens, Mark Edwards (Nobu) and David Everitt-Matthias in print for what I think is the first time. Plus Fuchsia Dunlop's take on Hunan cuisine. Plus Heston. Makes a change from Gordon Ramsays: Tele Vision Tie-In In Your Kitchen, vol. VIII (IMHO his books have never been the same since he stopped collaborating with Roz Denny).

Should be fun...

Amazon linx below

ta

J

-----------

Heston

Fuchsia Dunlop's "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook"

Nobu and Mark Edwards' "Nobu West"

Tom Aikens

David Everitt-Mathias' "Essence: Recipes from Le Champignon Sauvage"

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have heard that it will be screened in october, but not sure where i got that info now :hmmm:

have also read the same Amazon blurb, we are currently using the same farm that Heston chose for his beef "perfection", Hunstham farm and by the quality of the half cow that arrived for the start of our promo last week, I can understand why they got chosen.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to the Guardian, it is part of the new BBC2 Autumn season, so I guess that means sometime this Autumn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The Book's published on the 2nd October; there's now a picture on the amazon website here:

In search of perfection

This is the press release from the BBC about the series, but there's no transmission date yet:

"Famed for his snail porridge and bacon-and-egg ice cream, culinary alchemist Heston Blumenthal turns his attention to the UK's staple dishes in a new series for BBC TWO.

From sausage and mash to treacle tart and custard, Heston is on a mission to unlock the nation's collective memory of these traditional favourites.

Applying his unique expertise and passion for food research, he tries to create the ultimate taste sensation in his continuing search for perfection.

Focusing on one recipe per programme, Heston cooks up the dishes in a purpose-built laboratory-style kitchen.

And, in a bid to source the ultimate ingredients, viewers are introduced to foodgrowers and providers from Europe to the United States, as well as like-minded passionate researchers, chefs and members of Heston's team. "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

The Sunday Times were giving away a DVD of that Bloomin Hestenthal’s new series. What’s on the DVD is a bit of an oddity: the Sunday Times deglazing the cutting room floor. HB doesn’t seem to be one of life’s natural communicators, and yet he comes across as very down-to-earth and a generally nice sort. You certainly can’t imagine him effing and blinding at his staff for messing up the liquid nitrogen ice cream.

What’s interesting is that he’s very soft-line on “molecular gastronomy”. It’s a term he doesn’t like, as he explains in a conversation with Harold McGee. Should be an interesting series – if you don’t get too caught up in how clunky HB’s presentation skills are.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strange - the series that he did for sky focusing on the science behind cooking (demonstrating things like why his method should be used to get the perfect pommes puree and why using a masher creates something more resembling wall paper paste) did not seem to give any indication that there were any problems with his presentation skills - he came across very well.

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Picked up the book yesterday, seems pretty good actually, basic recipes but done in his own twist (lots of slow cooking for instance). Not a huge amount of them though, maybe 10 recipes in total?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Picked up the book yesterday, seems pretty good actually, basic recipes but done in his own twist (lots of slow cooking for instance). Not a huge amount of them though, maybe 10 recipes in total?

I almost bought the book as well, but when I saw the lack in number of recipes thought I'd wait til after the series to see if it was worth while.

Starting tonight though and I'm oh so excited!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got the book (50% off on Amazon). the series is starting today (I believe) at 20.00 hrs on BBC2 (30 mins show). Not a recipe book (there are few) but an insight on his approach and philosophy of cooking.. (Unami etc...) Unfortunatelly, he decided to cover Pizza Napoletana and due to the source of information, he added himself to the list of writer that made confusion on the subject, my favourite subject... I'll record the whole series anyway...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just watched the show.

If I hear that little audio sting (four breathless queens on crack singing "Digga ding ding dingggg, ding ding" in four part harmony) I will fucking scream.

It's worth noting that, in a series like this they don't actually choose the running order till they've shot the whole thing - then usual practice is to run with the best show first.

In which case - God help us.

The sausage thing was fun but the notion of adding toast water (The toast must be absolutely dry... right the way through) was just bollocks - a visual filler every bit as pointless as the culinary one.

The mash from roast spuds trick was as old as the ice cream performance and did we really need Heston to take ten minutes out of his busy schedule to work out that the best treacle for a traditional tasting treacle tart was Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup?

On the upside, I loved the title sequence.

Digga ding ding dingggg, ding ding

I interviewed the man a few weeks ago and he was, as noted upthread, keen to distance himself from the whole 'Molecular' farrago. The sausage sequence shows why. By the time he's liquidised the meat, blended in smoke flavoured fat and topped it up with carefully balanced rusk and syrup, any half intelligent foodie is going to realise he's doing exactly what Wall's are doing in their better equipped labs.

There is also, of course, the problem of all TV cheffery. It doesn't matter how far the poor bastard wants to distance himself from broad stroke cartoons of himself - that's exactly what the producers want. Consequently we get the whole 'nutty professor' shtick which Blumenthal himself doesn't believe in enough to carry off.

Some people have been justifiably baffled at the fact that BBC2 have promoted the show as part of their exciting autumn offering but buried it in the schedule without cross promotion.

To my mind this is because they knew the show itself was going to be a mess, although the concept was a big seller. That's why we've seen a lot of the beautiful titles and none of the show itself up till now.

As it happens, I think he's a good presenter and an inspiring enthusiast - it's just a shame that he's been railroaded into presenting a self parody.

Digga ding ding dingggg, ding ding

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh come on, no one expects anyone to try and emulate what Heston does. I was really looking forward to this tonight and I wasn't dissapointed at all.

I used to think his methods and ideas were a complete joke, that was before I took the time to take a look, read up on him and begin to understand his love of flavour. That's what Heston has isn't it? A love of exploring flavour and He's avoided becoming objective about flavours, placing them together for the sake of it and I just thought it was great how he even tried different varieties of syrup for his treacle tart.

Please take a quick look at my stuff.

Flickr foods

Blood Sugar

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Heston is a charming screen presence, very natural and unaffected. I really enjoyed the first show, although I think his sausages might be a bit mousse-like for my tastes (I‘d prefer a bit more texture) and he did go the very long way around to a rather standard treacle tart recipe. I thought it a bit odd that at one point he said dry ice was minus 80 and then at another it was minus 200 – surely he of all people knows what temperature dry ice is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was a standard treacle tart and the sausages were blended to a puree - what about the texture that was so important when he asked round Ludlow? Lumpy mash potatoes as well! Incidentally in the Sunday Times the potatoes were made with butter which had been blended with agar - last night there was no mention of this though I did notice the finished dish had cubes of butter on top (presumably the agar is to stop it melting)

Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's worth noting that, in a series like this they don't actually choose the running order till they've shot the whole thing - then usual practice is to run with the best show first.

In which case - God help us.

... any half intelligent foodie is going to realise he's doing exactly what Wall's are doing in their better equipped labs.

Heston is not only officially the best chef in the world, but he is also a doctor of science and has recently been awarded an OBE, which proves that He is a genius!

Comparing him to Wall's is an outrage, it's like saying Leonardo Da Vinci is a house painter.

Hestons food should make you proud to be British.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it a bit odd that at one point he said dry ice was minus 80 and then at another it was minus 200 – surely he of all people knows what temperature dry ice is.

You noticed that too.

Also, when the dry ice was at -200 he was slopping it about with bare hands and no eye protection. Back in the studio it was apparently at -80 but he was suddenly wearing all the kit.

I also picked up on Matthew's observation on the potatoes upthread

I was intrigued by the large number of continuity errors so I called a mate who's a foodie and an editor. Production teams move heaven and earth to avoid even the smallest continuity break so, he reckons, a show only looks like that when an enormous amount of work has been done in the editing suite after the fact.

The amount of error in this show is consistent with it having been entirely recut, a supposition borne out by it's extraordinarily last minute scheduling.

I'd hazard a guess that the first version of this show tested appallingly and had to be substantially remade.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heston is not only officially the best chef in the world, but he is also a doctor of science and has recently been awarded an OBE, which proves that He is a genius!

Comparing him to Wall's is an outrage, it's like saying Leonardo Da Vinci is a house painter.

Hestons food should make you proud to be British.

Heston has worked with most of the remaining university physics and chemistry departments in the UK according to his profiles. It's unsurprising that Reading gave him an honorary doctorate - he's the only person doing anything amusing to popularise science in the UK. Blumenthal currently constitutes pretty much the total media coverage of English physics.

I notice that Shane Warne got one last month too. Other distinguished holders of this academic accolade have been Rod Hull and Basil Brush.

Though many things make me proud to be British, the parlous state of our University Science departments is not one of them.

As it happens, Heston Blumenthal does make me proud to be British - mainly because he is a brilliant self-taught cook, a passionate educator and an innovator. I think he probably deserves the doctorate. He definitely deserves the OBE.

The tragedy is that he's been tarred with the 'soy paint' of 'Molecular Gastronomy' and is clearly aware that, if he doesn't do something about it quickly he will be destroyed in the inevitable backlash against it (remember how vituperative everybody got about the fatuous culinary excesses of 'Nouvelle Cuisine').

My point about Wall's was aimed at MG in general. Even the dimmest punter is starting to question whether a 'maize foam matrix, stabilized in hot air blast and powdered with freeze dried farmhouse cheddar' isn't just a Cheesy Wotsit.

Using the techniques of industrial food producers to create new textures is an interesting parlour trick... but lets face it, it's limited.

When you try to apply it to the sort of food that constitutes the Great British Favourites you get a ludicrously recursive argument.

A British banger is, to most people, an industrial product. When Blumenthal comes to the conclusion that the authentic taste can only be obtained by the use of sweeteners, over processed meat and fillers, he's getting dangerously close to the question, "Why the fuck would I bother?"

When he experiments to prove that a tart, which has always been made with a packaged by-product of industrial sugar refining, tastes most authentic when made with.... a packaged by-product of industrial sugar refining, the same question arises "Why the fuck would I bother?"

I'd hazard that the makers of this programme found this question coming up a lot during testing - that's why they had to cut it to death.

I think Blumenthal is possibly a genius. I think he and Harold McGee have done absolutely brilliant work in bringing scientific understanding to cooking.

If proof were needed, I think this programme shows that Molecular Gastronomy - if it ever was a food movement - is disappearing up it's own arse.

It's little short of a tragedy that, at a time when one of our nation's best chefs is trying to distance himself from it, he's been sucked back in.

Edited by Tim Hayward (log)

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Anonymous Modernist 16589
      I'm looking to buy some new pots and pans and would like to tap into your knowledege and experiance with them. Which pans tend to yield the best and most consistant results. Same for pots. Any and all recommendations would be greatly appriciated, thank you in advance.
      Herman 8D
    • By Doodad
      Has anybody tried making a dark roux in a pressure cooker? Can this be done without scortching do you think? I have made roux in the oven before and started wondering about this topic.
    • By kostbill
      I really want to improve the flavor of my chicken breast so I want to try to inject brine with fat and flavors.
       
      I would like to try brining with some hydrocolloids. The one example I found is this: https://torontofoodlab.com/2013/08/20/meat-tenderizing-with-a-carrageenan-brine/.
       
      However I cannot apply that to my chicken breast because I am cooking it sous vide, so the chicken will not reach the temperature needed for the carrageenan to gel.
       
      I am thinking of using Methyl cellulose, first disperse in hot water, then leave it for 24 hours in the fridge, then add salt, fat and flavors and inject it.
      I am afraid that until it reaches the 50C or 60C that the Methyl cellulose needs in order to gel, the liquid will escape.
      Any ideas?
      Thanks.
    • By Anonymous Modernist 760
      Thanks for putting up this forum 🙂
      I would like to bake using a combination of sous vide and a conventional oven. Would it be possible to put the dough in a vacuum bag cook it sous vide at 37C for the dough to raise optimal and then put it in a conventional oven?
      Thanks
    • By Chef Hermes Blog
      Warm Onion Bavarois
      * 300g Sweet Onion purée
      * 250g Whole milk
      * 150g Whipping cream
      * 150g Chicken stock (or fresh vegetable nage, not stock cubes)
      * 3.5g Gellan gum
      * Seasoning
      Lightly grease with vegetable oil the moulds you intend to use (darioles, ramekins etc) and set to one side.
      In a pan (but not on the heat), whisk together all the ingredients.
      Place on a medium heat and whisk continuously, the mix will start to thicken slightly. Carry on whisking for a further 3-4 minutes when it has started to bubble. Then quickly pour into the greased moulds & chill.
      To reheat for serving, just place the ramekin in a pan of water and simmer gently for 8-10 mins.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...