Today I’m continuing my long over due post from the Heston Blumenthal Live show, which I had the fortune to experience a fortnight ago. I wanted to hold off on any potential spoiler alerts for folks who might have been seeing the show here in Australia & New Zealand. In case you want to know a litttle more, a link to the previous post can be found here
Continuing on then…
There were some surprises on the night from another celebrity/guest chef, Luke Mangan-Hilton Sydney (he’s the celebrity chef who catered for Princess Mary and Prince Frederick at their Denmark wedding and he also rocks out to Powderfinger) Another special guest of nearly Australian royalty appeared via video, Dame Edna Everage (aka Barry Humphries alter ego in drag!) simply asking the sort of food questions you might get from a lovely old gran before she attempts to cook a fancy supper.
Experiments & audience participation,
Heston spoke of perception, colours and senses which can delight & confuse. He used the example that as we eat, we are tasting, smelling, looking, hearing, ideally we’re using all our senses to experience what our palates have to offer.
Example, he staged a Wine experiment, with red & white wine tasting for selected members of the audience. They were invited to taste both types of wine (& wrote their notes down.) After the question time, they responded as you’d expect with different notes on the red or white wine and actually Heston responded at the end by saying both wines were exactly the same.
One had been slightly chilled and the other had been dyed red with beetroot colouring. He also mentioned the power of using this tool in his own creations like the beetroot/orange jellies at The Fat Duck and with the colours being reverse flavours of golden beetroot and blood orange jelly…
We were also asked to eat our chocolate biscuit/Tim Tams for an experiment.
To do this at home: (you’ll need a chocolate biscuit.)
Now hold you nose and take a bite of the biccy, chew a few times whilst continually holding your nose. The flavours will be muted, you might only taste sweet or salty… Then release the nostrils and sense the smells as they fill your head, from the creamy flavours, chocolatey, the full palate of that biscuit… It’s just like magic!
This experiment was part of his discoveries for British Airways and he’s also revamped their inflight menus (in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics.) He’d also discovered that food tasted entirely different at certain points of pressure in the air and there’s a fantastic series which channel 4 released (and I think you can buy it on iTunes if you’re that keen.)
One of the most exciting parts of the evening (for me) were video crosses to The Fat Duck & footage/preparation of well know dishes, such as the Alice in Wonderland theme for the edible golden fob watches Mock Turtle Soup & The Queen of Hearts from edible playing cards in an envelope sealed with tinted white chocolate. Another well known dish was also shown, The Sound of the Sea (complete with iPod playing sounds of the seaside)
Also his latest restaurant has premiered at no 9 on the San Pellegrino top 50 restaurants of the world, no small feat! I have some extremely lucky friends who are en route to London and shall be stopping by the Mandarin Hotel for Dinner by Heston to see the historic food on offer. I can’t wait till they get back and recount each and every single bite!
Lastly, he ended on a very sweet note for Like a kid in the sweet shop, which details the reservation process and the lead up to dining at The Fat Duck. The audience members were delighted to find a little perfume vial (under our seats) filled with the scent of a sweet shop, from candy to lemons, to musk to wooden notes etc, which we sprayed whilst he played the animation, (for those who didn’t see the previous post with the animation, here it is again for your viewing pleasure.) That little vial is my piece of Heston magic I will keep forever!