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The Great Chefs from around the world
30

Heston Marc Blumenthal OBE raised in Buckinghamshire) is an English chef and owner of The Fat Duck. The Fat Duck is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire voted Best Restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide 2007 and 2009, and voted best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine in 2005. His restaurant has been a perennial runner-up to Ferran Adrià of El Bulli in the world rankings, achieving 2nd place in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, 3rd in 2010 and 5th in 2011.

In 1982, when Heston was sixteen, he and his family went to a three-star restaurant situated beneath towering cliffs in Provence.  None of them had experienced anything like it before-not just the extraordinary food but the beauty of the surroundings, the delightful smell of lavender in the air, the sounds of chirruping cicadas and splashing fountains, and the sheer theatre of waiters carving lamb at the table or pouring lobster sauce unto soufflés.
At that moment, Heston fell in love with cooking and the idea of being a chef.

Heston Blumenthal attended the John Hampden Grammar School, High Wycombe and Latymer Upper School, London. Apart from a week's work experience in Raymond Blanc's kitchen and a short time in Marco Pierre White's, he is self-taught. According to an interview with The Observer in 2004, he has been cooking "seriously" since the mid-1990s. In that year he sold his share in Riverside Brasserie to colleague Garrey Dawson, having two years earlier invested in the nearby Riverside Brasserie with former Arsenal FC footballer Lee Dixon and Alfie Hitchcock.



He is an Experimentalist:

It took more than a decade to realise this dream. By day he worked in a variety of jobs – photocopier salesman, debt collector, credit controller – while at night he worked his way through the classical repertoire of French cuisine, cooking the same dishes over and over, perfecting the techniques and seeking out the best ways to harness flavour. Every summer he spent two weeks crisscrossing France, visiting restaurants, suppliers and wine estates, learning about every aspect of gastronomy and banking flavour memories for the future. This formed Heston’s culinary apprenticeship. Apart from three weeks in a couple of professional kitchens, he is entirely self-taught.

Television shows:
In 2005 he produced a series of six half-hour television programmes called Kitchen Chemistry with Heston Blumenthal which were transmitted on Discovery Science along with a book Kitchen Chemistry, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry and distributed to 6,000 schools in the UK and Ireland. He was ranked 3rd chef by caterersearch.com in that year.

This was followed by two BBC series called Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection and Heston Blumenthal: Further Adventures In Search of Perfection. These series had higher production values, and followed Blumenthal's research and varied re-creation of classic British cuisine. The first series had seven episodes and included bangers and mash, fish and chips and spaghetti Bolognese; the second ran to eight episodes, and featured chicken tikka masala, hamburgers and Peking duck.

Blumenthal signed a two-year deal with Channel 4 in March 2008, joining the channel's roster of celebrity chefs which already included Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Gordon Ramsay. In January 2009 a 3-part series of television programmes on Channel 4 covered his efforts to revamp the menu at a Little Chef motorway restaurant on the A303 road at Popham in the hope that his recipe ideas would be introduced in all 193 outlets.

A follow-up programme was broadcast in October 2009. In March 2009 Blumenthal began a short series of 45 minute programmes, called Heston's Feasts, showing Victorian, Medieval, Tudor, Christmas (including dormouse and venison) and Roman themed dinner banquets with various celebrities as guests. A second series of this was commissioned and began a few days after Easter 2010. In this series he created, among others, a Charlie and The Chocolate Factory style feast,[8] a Fairytale feast and an Edwardian style feast based on the last meal eaten on the Titanic.

In the "Chili Con Carne" episode of the series In Search of Perfection he said that he was unable to participate in the MRI study of chili's effect on the brain as he had a metal plate inserted in his back after hurting it falling off a roof at the age of ten.

From 22 February 2011, Channel 4 began airing Heston's new show, titled Heston's Mission Impossible, in which Heston targets lack-luster food served in various industries and aims to update the food to things people enjoy to eat. So far broadcast are Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Cineworld, British Airways and The Royal Navy (aboard the HMS Turbulent). The series is currently ongoing.

Cooking methods:
Blumenthal is a proponent of modern cooking; he opened his own research and development kitchen in early 2004. It could be said that he is a molecular gastronomist. Blumenthal is a proponent of low temperature, ultra–slow cooking, whereby a joint of meat is cooked for up to 24 hours so as to contain the fat content while preventing collagen molecules from re-forming within the meat. In his In Search of Perfection series, he cooks a Bresse chicken at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). Ultra-slow cooking does not melt the fat or release many juices, making the creation of gravy impossible, but Blumenthal says that gravy is unnecessary as the meat itself is sufficiently moist.

Blumenthal is also a proponent of the Sous-vide cooking technique. Sous-vide, which means "under vacuum" in French is a technique that entails cooking something that has been vacuum sealed in a plastic bag. The sealed bag is placed in a thermostatically controlled water bath and held at a relatively low temperature for long periods of time. In the case of Beef steak cooked using the Sous-vide method, the steak is held at around 60° Celsius or 140° Fahrenheit for a minimum of thirty minutes. The steak is then removed from the bag and is then seared in a very hot pan. Searing the outside of the steak not only improves the flavour and texture of the meat, it also kills the harmful bacteria on the outside of the steak that survived the water bath.

Cookook:
The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is a 532 page cookbook written mostly by Blumenthal. The book is divided into 3 parts. The first part contains an essay by Blumenthal recounting his history and that of The Fat Duck. The story is interspersed with semi-abstract illustrations by artist Dave McKean, relating to the story. The second part contains recipes, all of which were at one point on the menu at The Fat Duck, as well as a short story explaining the inspiration behind each dish. The third part is devoted to the science of cooking, with essays contributed by his collaborators.

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