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Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection


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Just heard HB on Desert Island Discs and am now, more than ever, convinced that he's a jolly nice bloke and a great cook with his heart in the right place.

Which just makes it even sadder that the show is a cock-up.

I'm heartily sick of seeing good cooks ruined by going on TV. I hope this show fills his pension pot so they won't be able to persuade him to do another.

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

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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.

His head is a continuity giveaway... shaved to varying degrees throughout the programme.

The bits filmed in Ludlow must have been from the 2005 Sausage Trail, as this year it was glorious sunshine, and exceptionally warm for the whole weekend.

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Just watched the show, and I thought it was pretty fantastic. It's brief in certain sections, probably because the book picks up the slack, and the sausage and mash looked fantastic. One thing I would have liked was to see a cross section of the finished sausage to see the texture.

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I watched this recently and actually quite enjoyed it - or maybe it's because here in Oz we're a little starved of good food programs.

HB has a great way of talking to the camera - not all talented chefs command good screen presence as well. And I thought it was hilarious the way he bashed the dry ice and tried to make his own treacle. It seemed a bit pointless, but still appealed to me in a geeky/sciencey kind of way.

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Well, he can cook, but we knew that already. I turned off halfway through, he's uncomfortable and stilted in front of camera and I found it hard to watch. No presence or charisma, I'd rather even watch Jamie than this, and that's saying something.

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Well, he can cook, but we knew that already. I turned off halfway through, he's uncomfortable and stilted in front of camera and I found it hard to watch. No presence or charisma, I'd rather even watch Jamie than this, and that's saying something.

Despite pluggging BMW on desert island dicks, HB is the worlds only chef to have a knighthood. KNOW YOUR PLACE!

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My first post, and what better way to start than a dividing issue.

I was a little dissapointed by the programme to be honest, I found it pretty much like any cookery show, albeit with less dishes cooked than normal. I suppose in the back of my mind I was thinking do I really want to see a 3 star innovative and talented chef cooking sausage and mash? Not really, endless TV chefs serve that purpose. I suppose I do not want to see Snail Porridge et al. I would like to have seen new advances, new techniques, dishes to make me go wow and I want to try that.

When I first seen Heston on 'Full on Food' I thought he came across as quite wooden and not as entertaining as I hoped. I think he has improved a great deal was a lot more interesting.

Will I continue to watch. Of course I will. I will unfortunately watch anything to do with food good or bad. I have been forcibly removed from a few supermarkets on a number of occassions for staring at the Rotisserie thinking its 'Good Food Live'. :blink:

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As many before him and many yet to come, he has tried to put his stamp on the culinary time line, and in his case, with the molecular approach.

And as usual, it's a flash in a pan and a short lived fad which did not even last 1/1000 of the Nouvelle Cuisine.

He can slow cook, carbonise and nitro freeze. It is not what a real chef is about but more of a prankster trying to burn the steps to get faster up the ladder. Good for him and good for his followers.

As for myself, I am not impressed by this new wave of morcels of food served in spoons and other non descript containers.

I will stick to the French cuisine with the personal touch of the different Chefs.

Bye Bye Blumenthal. turn right and exit left.

Now if he could carbonize or at least freeze-dry Giles, how a bout a shave and a neck wring?

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Bye Bye Blumenthal. turn right and exit left.

Well that's him told.

Noticed a letter in -- of all places -- the mailbag bit of Winner's Dinners in the Sunday Times (link). Says the Fat Duck hasn't changed its menu in three years, and is at risk of becoming "no more than a theme park". Interesting observation, I thought.

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Noticed a letter in -- of all places -- the mailbag bit of Winner's Dinners in the Sunday Times (link). Says the Fat Duck hasn't changed its menu in three years, and is at risk of becoming "no more than a theme park". Interesting observation, I thought.

True. The theme park metaphor is very spt.

The difference between Fat Duck and a Pierre Gagnaire is that PG turns out new dishes at a drop of the hat where as the Fat Duck menu never changes. For all the innovations behind the scenes in the lab its a shocker how few seem to make their way onto the degustation. That gap is what puts the top notch Paris ***s on a different level to the UKs (the same argument can be applied e.g. ADPA or Ambroisie versus Gordon-will-you-have-lamb-canon-or-beef-fillet-on-the-degustation-again-this-time-Ramsay at RHR).

I guess the difference between a theme park an a real park is that a real park you come back to again and again. A theme park you only ever go once.

Although in his defense Heston has always said the dishes undergo constant tweaks, even if the menu descriptive never changes - I'm sure many backroom innovations creep in this way. Also NB the Chez Nico argument. Nico Ladenis always argued that he figured out the perfect dishes and once he had them figured he put them on the menu and never really changed them (or words to that effect).

It's also churlish to dismiss Heston as a flash in the pan. I'm sure Paul Bocuse was a flash in the pan once everyone had figured out nouvelle cuisine. Hey once everyone had figured out how to systemise cuisine along Escoffier's lines what new was there to add? And once you knew you had to make a big piece montee what was the point of keeping Careme on the payroll? Chef makes innovation. Innovation becomes accepted and commonplace. So what? Takes nothing away from the initial innovation.

J

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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The difference between Fat Duck and a Pierre Gagnaire is that PG turns out new dishes at a drop of the hat where as the Fat Duck menu never changes.  For all the innovations behind the scenes in the lab its a shocker how few seem to make their way onto the degustation.

Was in El Poblet * in Spain last weekend, where Quique Dacosta, another self-taught boundry-pushing molecular gastronomist, does his thing (albeit with an absurdly mean one Michelin star, as opposed to Heson's perhaps slightly generous three). The a la carte menu includes a date of creation next to each dish, running back about a decade. Thought this seemed the ultimate in pretention when I first saw it, but given Jon's observations about the balance between the need to innovate and maintain consistency, it seems a pretty good idea. Those who want the classics know where to look, and those who want the latest tricks and experiments know where to find them.

(* Brilliant, by the way. Anyone who's interested in such things will be better off, both fiscally and gastronomically, by skipping Bray, getting on an Easyjet and going here instead.)

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As many before him and many yet to come, he has tried to put his stamp on the culinary time line, and in his case, with the molecular approach.

And as usual, it's a flash in a pan and a short lived fad which did not even last 1/1000 of the Nouvelle Cuisine.

He can slow cook, carbonise and nitro freeze. It is not what a real chef is about but more of a prankster trying to burn the steps to get faster up the ladder. Good for him and good for his followers.

As for myself, I am not impressed by this new wave of morcels of food served in spoons and other non descript containers.

I will stick to the French cuisine with the personal touch of the different Chefs.

Bye Bye Blumenthal. turn right and exit left.

Now if he could carbonize or at least freeze-dry Giles, how a bout a shave and a neck wring?

Where is Beatles band?

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The difference between Fat Duck and a Pierre Gagnaire is that PG turns out new dishes at a drop of the hat where as the Fat Duck menu never changes.  For all the innovations behind the scenes in the lab its a shocker how few seem to make their way onto the degustation.  That gap is what puts the top notch Paris ***s on a different level to the UKs

If these Parisian restaurants are so good, why is it that Sir Heston is officially the best chef on the planet?

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If these Parisian restaurants are so good, why is it that Sir Heston is officially the best chef on the planet?

Heston is certainly not a Sir, and the claim that he is 'officially' the best chef on the planet is debatable. According to whom?

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If these Parisian restaurants are so good, why is it that Sir Heston is officially the best chef on the planet?

Heston is certainly not a Sir, and the claim that he is 'officially' the best chef on the planet is debatable. According to whom?

According to the Queen of Britain and Restaurant Magazine.

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Please... The debate as to the veracity of the Restaurant Magazine Best Resto Awards is so passe. To put it bluntly: Even Gary Marshall gets to vote in the resto mag awards, which shows how "definitive" they are!

And if we're in the mood for splitting hairs Fat Duck was named best resto as opposed to Heston being best chef on the planet. And that was as of 2005 not 2006 so you should use the grammatical construction "was former officially the best..." not "is officially the best..."

<sigh>

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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The Fat Duck was named best restaurant in the 2005 poll, since suceeded by El Bulli. If you are going to use this criterion, Adria is now the best chef 'on the planet'.

Not sure what the Queen has to do with this, other than the fact that she granted Heston an OBE, not a knighthood.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the Fat Duck and admire Heston, I just don't think he should be immune to criticism.

PS - I also liked watching him on the Sunday Times DVD. Possibly because a lot of it was cut from the TV series so the footage of him is more relaxed.

Edited by Rian (log)
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Not sure what the Queen has to do with this, other than the fact that she granted Heston an OBE, not a knighthood.

... which is an honour she's also given to Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein, Anton Mosimann, Marguerite Patten, Albert Roux, Prue Leith and Delia Smith.

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