Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal

I've been watching In Search of Perfection on Food Network since they began airing it earlier this year (I'm so glad they have picked up the season two episodes), and I think I've been through all the snippets of Heston's Feasts I could find on You Tube, so when I found The Fat Duck Cookbook I couldn't help but buy it.

The "cookbook" definitely has recipes in it, but I doubt many people have the ingredients or equipment available to them to fully execute the dishes at home. I was even aware of this when I purchased the book a couple weeks ago, but I just couldn't help it: beautiful photos and illustrations, a tidy history of The Fat Duck restaurant and Blumenthal's food history and inspiration, awe inspiring recipes, and the back third of the book includes information about "lab equipment" and food science studies. In the end though, the book is really more of an informative read about Blumenthal's attempts to bridge the industrial food science world with the restaurant chef, to give the customer a total eating experience.

All I can really say in my defense is that I didn't purchase The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, the original version of the book, which cost upwards of $200... It must have been those satin ribbons that put it over the top. Price aside, there are definitely some inspiring (however unexpected) flavor pairing ideas, and a few components of certain dishes do contain recipes that do not include crazy ingredients (like gold leaf), or lab gear (like a centrifuge).

I also see that Food Network has picked up Big Chef Takes On Little Chef, where Blumenthal revamps the menu of the UK fast food chain Little Chef. You can see it Thursday evenings at 7PM, and again at 10PM.

**The cover illustration was done by Dave McKean**

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