Guest Author - Asha Sahni
Heston Blumenthal and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are chefs whose respect for and love of food has made them household names in England. They have both written popular cookery books and developed their profile through regular TV appearances. In England cookery taught in schools has in the past been called Domestic Science or Home Economics. Both chefs have an approach to food that can be seen as scientific – Blumenthal testing, experimenting and creating; Fearnley-Whittingstall deeply interested in the natural science of using fresh, seasonal and ethical produce.
Heston Blumenthal owns The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire. He is renowned for the scientific way he approaches food preparation and recipe development. He believes eating is most enjoyed when it actively involves all the senses. He created his dish The Sound of the Sea, which looks like the sea coming in to shore, after exploring the impact sound and memory have on the eating experience. Diners are treated to sea sounds delivered through an iPod placed in a big seashell.
Blumenthal is a consummate entertainer. His TV adventures include Kitchen Chemistry which explores the science of cooking, conducting experiments to prove/disprove established cookery “facts”. The book that accompanies the series is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. In Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection he investigates how to create perfect traditional dishes such as Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips and Treacle Tart & Ice Cream. In Heston’s Feasts he looks to the past for culinary inspiration, creating feasts from different eras of history including Medieval, Tudor and Victorian.
Heston Blumenthal has received numerous awards for his work, from Michelin Stars to GQ Chef Of The Year. The Fat Duck has been voted Best Restaurant in the UK and Second Best Restaurant In World. Blumenthal was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2006.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a writer and chef who was educated at Eton and Oxford. He is strongly committed to using fresh produce in season. Some might consider his appearance and behaviour eccentric – he has a generally rumpled look topped by a bush of dark wavy hair.
Fearnley-Whittingstall found his niche when moving to a smallholding where he raised his own livestock and grew his own food. There have been several “River Cottage” TV series and books which have followed his quest to cook with fresh, home produced/reared and local food. Fearnley-Whittingstall created a network called Landshare to bring together people who have land they are not fully using and people who want to grow their own food. He promotes and campaigns for causes he believes in including Fish Fight (promoting sustainable fishing) and Chicken Out! (campaign to end chicken factory farming). His books and TV programmes explore not just how to cook but his philosophy of food, eating and living.
The Fat Duck Cookbook
The River Cottage Cookbook