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Heston Blumenthal, London, June 2010
27 May 1966 |
London, England, United Kingdom
Heston Marc Blumenthal, OBE (pron.: //; born 27 May 1966) is an English chef and owner of The Fat Duck, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, which has been voted Best Restaurant in the UK and received a perfect score of 10/10 every year since 2007 by The Good Food Guide. The restaurant has also received international recognition, claiming second place in both 2012 and 2013 in the Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in the World.
Blumenthal is entirely self-taught. His first paid job as a chef was when he opened his own restaurant, The Fat Duck. Prior to this, his only experience in a professional kitchen was a one week long work experience in Raymond Blanc's kitchen.
In 2004, The Fat Duck was awarded its third Michelin star.
The Fat Duck is Blumenthal’s first restaurant which he opened in 1995 in Bray, Berkshire. It has won many awards and has consistently been rated as one of the top restaurants in the world. Blumenthal is a proponent of multi-sensory dining, which is evident in many of his dishes at The Fat Duck.
Heston’s first restaurant outside of Bray, opened at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London in January 2011 to great accolades from critics and diners alike. The Times food critic, Giles Coren, called it the “best restaurant in the whole wide world”. Blumenthal and his team worked with historians to develop the restaurant’s dishes which are inspired by historic British recipes. Dinner was voted the 7th best restaurant in the world of 2013
The Hinds Head is in Bray, a short distance from The Fat Duck. Blumenthal acquired the Hinds Head in 2004. It is located in a 15th century former tavern and serves traditional seasonal cuisine and historic British dishes. It has received many awards for its food. In 2011, it was named the Michelin Pub Guide’s “Pub of the Year”. Received his first Michelin star in 2013.
The Crown at Bray
The Crown at Bray is a Blumenthal’s version of a British village pub. Blumenthal bought it in June 2010. It is located in a 16th century former inn and serves traditional pub food.
Blumenthal has had numerous books published. His first book was Family Food: A new approach to cooking in 2000. His second book was Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection in 2006 (in which he attempts to find the best way of preparing classic dishes, including fish and chips and Black Forest gateau). Heston Blumenthal: Further Adventures In Search of Perfection was published in 2007 and The Big Fat Duck Cook Book in 2008 published by Bloomsbury. "Heston Blumenthal at Home" was published in late 2011 and is currently in the top 10 in the food and drink category on Amazon's bestseller's list.
The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is a 532 page cookbook written by Blumenthal and published in 2008 . 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.
Blumenthal has written columns for The Guardian, T2, The Times and GQ. Along with the scientists on the faculty of Reading University, he co-wrote an academic paper on the taste and flavour of tomatoes called “Differences in Glutamic Acid and 5'-Ribonucleotide Contents between Flesh and Pulp of Tomatoes and the Relationship with Umami Taste” 
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 six thousand schools in the UK and Ireland. To date, it is the most successful book ever produced by the Society. He was ranked third 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 classics of British cuisine and World 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.
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.
In the Christmas special of the second series of In Search of Perfection, Blumenthal milked a reindeer in Siberia to make ice cream and harvested Frankincense in Oman.
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 three-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. Following Blumenthal's revamp of the menu, the Popham Little Chef earned an entry in the Good Food Guide. The Little Chef group extended Blumenthal's menu to 12 branches and are now planning a major expansion across the sites.
In March 2009 Blumenthal began a short series of hour long programmes, called Heston's Feasts, showing Victorian (Alice in Wonderland-inspired), 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, a Fairytale feast and an Edwardian style feast based on the last meal eaten on the Titanic.
From 22 February 2011, Channel 4 began airing Heston's new show, titled Heston's Mission Impossible, in which Heston targets lackluster 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).
Blumenthal has appeared on two episodes of Masterchef Australia, in series 2 and in series 3 called (Pressure Test 4)—Craig, Michael, Shannon and Rachel faced a Heston Blumenthal creation: a seemingly simple burger with chips and milkshake.
In January 2012, How To Cook Like Heston, aired on Channel 4. The programme was aimed at home cooks, and featured some of the more approachable techniques employed by Blumenthal.
In November 2012, Blumenthal fronted a television program for Channel 4 entitled Heston's Fantastical Food, in which he created enormous versions of everyday foodstuffs, such as a biscuit, a pot of tea, a sandwich and a can of fizzy drink. The programmes were poorly-received, criticised for being self-indulgent, wasteful, unscientific and stretching 20 minutes of television over an hour.
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, though he dislikes the term, believing it makes the practice sound "complicated" and "elitist." He holds multiple honorary degrees in recognition of his scientific approach to cooking.
One of his signature techniques is the use of a vacuum jar to increase expansion of bubbles during food preparation. This is used in such dishes as an aerated chocolate soufflé–like dessert. The reduction in air pressure inside the jar causes bubbles to grow to a larger size. He has experimented with amplification to enhance the sounds, such as the crunch, created while eating various foods.
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 °C (140 °F) 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 improves the flavour and texture of the meat.
Multi-sensory cooking 
Heston’s cooking is famously a multi-sensory experience. He is at the forefront of the multi-sensory dining experience. He first became interested in multi-sensory cooking when he was 16 and his parents took him to 2 Michelin starred L’Oustau in Provence.
Of multi-sensory cooking, Blumenthal says, “Development is where my heart is focused because eating is the only thing that we do that involves all the senses. We eat with our eyes and our ears and our noses. You think about some of the most memorable meals you've ever had; the food will be good but it will often be about locating a mental memory and taste is inexorably linked to all the other senses and memory, so ultimately it is all about taste.”
"It still surprises me that more people are not focusing on this area because it's so obvious - eating is a complete sensory experience. It's the only thing we do that engages all of our senses. What I try to do is play with this idea to extend and deepen one's interaction with food."
Blumenthal is working with Oxford University psychologist Charles Spence on studying the relationship between our enjoyment of food and our senses. Prof Spence is currently working with Blumenthal's team to inspire a dish featuring bitter and sweet flavours, with a matching soundtrack.The research invites participants to match bitter and sweet flavours with musical instruments and different pitches. The Fat Duck has produced a dish based on the research, but it has not yet reached the table.
Signature dishes 
Blumenthal's signature dishes include snail porridge, bacon and egg ice cream and parsnip cereal, mock turtle soup (which combines a multi-sensory experience with historical references), Meat Fruit, and his Sweet Shop petit fours.
He has pioneered the use of sound as part of the dining experience with his Sound of the Sea dish where diners listen to a recording of the seaside – crashing waves with occasional sounds of distant seagulls, children's laughter and the horn of a ship, while they eat a dish of king fish, konbu cured halibut, ballotine of mackerel with 5 different seaweeds, sea jelly beans and monks beard served on "sand" made from tapioca starch, toasted Japanese breadcrumbs, miso paste and dried seaweeds.
Blumenthal is also known for his use of scented dry ice.
Blumenthal and his restaurant "The Fat Duck" have been credited as instigators of the bacon dessert "craze". He was preparing sweet and savoury bacon-and-egg ice cream as early as 2004, and news "about the intriguingly odd confection quickly spread through the food world."
Historic influences 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (May 2012)|
Blumenthal is known for using British history in his dishes, television work, and books. He first became interested in British culinary history in 2000 when he was writing his book “Family Food”. The first dish he created based on a historic recipe was Quaking Pudding, which is on the menu at the Hinds Head.
British culinary history formed the basis for Blumenthal’s Feast Series. One of Blumenthal’s signature dishes at his restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, is Meat Fruit which he first developed for the Feast Medieval episode. Blumenthal said in the programme,” When I first started looking at historic recipes, particularly recipes from medieval times, there was one dish that really attracted my attention, just because it was completely mad: Meat fruit. Literally, you took some meat and turned it into fruit. People in the Middle Ages believed fruit and vegetable were considered to have diseases unless cooked. With a typically wicked sense of humour, medieval chefs played on this fear by forming and painting meat to make it look like raw fruit. The idea being to shock and delight their diners.”
Blumenthal has worked extensively with historian Ivan Day and then those at Hampton Court Palace to research British culinary history.
Blumenthal is writing and researching a book based entirely on historic recipes.
Blumenthal has collaborated with scientists, including:
- Professor Peter Barham, Professorial Teaching Fellow in Physics at Bristol University and author of the book The Science of Cooking
- Professor Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford, with whom he collaborated in experiments with the use of headphones during eating
- Professor Andy Taylor at the University of Nottingham with whom Blumenthal has sponsored a PhD studentship
- Professors Don Mottram and Margot Gosney of the University of Reading, which in 2006 awarded Blumenthal an honorary degree.
He was selected to provide the picnic meal for participants in Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. In recognition, he was a guest in the Royal Box at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert in June 2012.
Honorary degrees and recognition 
Blumenthal holds multiple honorary degrees in recognition of his scientific approach to cooking.
In January 2006, he was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen in the New Years Honours List for his services to British Gastronomy.
In July 2006, Blumenthal was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree by Reading University in recognition of his unique scientific approach to food and long-standing relationship with the University’s School of Food Biosciences. Also in July 2006, Blumenthal was the first chef to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Blumenthal received an honorary Master of Science from Bristol University in 2007.
Blumenthal is the first ever professional chef in the United Kingdom to be offered a Coat of Arms and is in the process of designing it.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (May 2012)|
Personal awards 
- GQ Chef of the Year - GQ Man of the Year Awards 2010, 2011
- Trophy Gourmand - Austria 2010
- GQ Personality of the year - GQ Glenfiddich Awards 2007
- Chefs Chef - San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards April 2007
- Honorary Royal Society of Chemistry Fellowship for “… distinguished person whose activities have been of significant development to the chemical community..” - July 2006
- Honorary Doctor of Science degree awarded by Reading University for recognition for his unique scientific approach to food and long-standing relationship with the University’s School of Food Biosciences - Summer graduation ceremony July 2006
- Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen - January 2006 New Years Honours List
- GQ Magazine Chef of the Year - GQ Magazine Man of the Year awards 2004
- Chef of the Year - Good Food Guide, 2001
- Catey Awards Restaurateur of the year Award - Caterer & Hotelkeeper Magazine 2003
- Best Restaurant of the Year Award - Decanter Magazine, 1998
- Food & Wine Personality of the Year Award - GQ Magazine, Glenfiddich Awards 2004
- AA Guide chef’s chef of the year Award - AA Guide Publications 2002
Television and book awards 
- BAFTA nomination in the Features category for "FEAST" - British Academy Television Awards 2010
- The Features and Lifestyle Award for Heston's Victorian Feast - The Royal Television Society Awards 2009
- Food Book of the Year for The Big Fat Duck Cookbook - Guild of Food Writers Awards 2009
- Winner of Design and Production Award for The Big Fat Duck Cookbook - British Book Industry Awards 2009
- Winner of Photography Award for The Big Fat Duck Cookbook - James Beard Foundation Awards 2009
- Winner of Design Award for The Big Fat Duck Cookbook - International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards 2009
- BAFTA nomination in the Features category for “Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection”- British Academy Television Awards 2008
- Best Cookbook of the year Worldwide for Family Food “a new approach to cooking” - Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2004
- Best Children Cookbook for Family Food “a new approach to cooking” - Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2004
- Best Production “Heston Blumenthal – In Search of Perfection” BBC2 - GQ Glenfiddich Awards 2007
Restaurant awards 
- Rated Best restaurant in the UK and scored 10/10 in Good Food Guide 2013
- Ranked 13 Best Restaurant in the World - San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2012
- Fifth Best Restaurant in the World - San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2011
- Third Best Restaurant in the World - San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2010
- Second Best Restaurant in the World - San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2009,2008,2007,2006
- Best Restaurant in the UK and 10/10 score - Good Food Guide 2008, 2009,2010,2011, 2012
- Conde Nast Traveller Innovation Award for “Chocolate Wine” 2008
- Best Overall Service - Restaurant Magazine Front of House Awards 2007
- Best Restaurant in the UK - Good Food Guide 2007
- Grand Prix de L’Art de la Cuisine - International Academy of Gastronomy 2007
- Gault Millau, 19/20 rating
- Gault Millau Guide January 2005
- 3 Michelin Stars - Michelin Travel Publications 2004
- Square Meal/BMW Best out of Town Restaurant - Square Meal Magazine, BMW Awards 2004
- Tatler Magazine Best Out of Town Restaurant - Tatler Magazine Awards 2004
- Catey Awards Chef of the Year - Catering & Hotelkeeper Magazine 2004
- Second Best restaurant in the World Award - Restaurant Magazine Worlds 50 Best Restaurant awards 2004
- Restaurant Magazine Best European Restaurant Award - Worlds 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2004
- Restaurant Magazine highest New Entry Award - Worlds Best 50 Restaurants Awards 2004
- Best Restaurant Award - Observer Food Monthly Awards 2004
- Good Food Guide accreditation 9/10 - 2004
- 2 Michelin Stars - Michelin Travel Publications 2001
- 5 AA rosettes - AA Publications 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
- AA wine list of the year - AA Publications 2002
- AA Sherry List of the year - AA Sherry Publications 2002
- AA Restaurant of Year Award - AA Publications 2001
- Best of the year in Modern European category - Hotel and Restaurant Magazine, 2000
- 1 Michelin Star - Michelin Travel Publications 1998
- 1 Michelin Star - Michelin Guide 2012
- Highest New Entry (no. 9) - San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2012
- BMW Square Meal Award for Best New Restaurant - Spring 2011
- Tatler Restaurant of the Year - Spring 2011
- Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (2005)
- In Search of Perfection (2006)
- Further Adventures in Search of Perfection (2007)
- The Fat Duck Cookbook (2008)
- Total Perfection:In Search of Total Perfection (2009)
- Heston's Fantastical Feasts (2010)
- Heston Blumenthal At Home (2011)
- "Heston Blumenthal's In Search of Perfection".
- "The Elite Traveler & Laurent-Perrier Top 100 Restaurants in the World | Elite Traveler | Page 2". Elite Traveler. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Bristol University | Public and Ceremonial Events Office | Heston Marc Blumenthal". Bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Tibbetts, Graham (2008-10-24). "Harry Potter star Alan Rickman funds school bursary". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Interview by Hester Lacey (2011-07-15). "The Inventory: Heston Blumenthal". FT.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Jay Rayner. "The man who mistook his kitchen for a lab | Life and style | The Observer". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Umami Information Center". Umamiinfo.com. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- Heston Blumenthal, caterersearch.com, 12 May 2005, Retrieved 27 December 2009
- "Heston Blumenthal I injected my head chef with a dangerous dose of chilli oil". Daily Mail (London). 23 September 2007.
- "Last nights TV:Heston Blumenthal".
- Smillie, Susan (28 November 2008). "Heston Blumenthal's Little Chef: the menu". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 December 2008.
- Cockcroft, Lucy (27 March 2008). "Heston Blumenthal to transform Little Chef". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- "Heston's Willy Wonka Feast". Tv.sky.com. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "About Heston's Mission Impossible – Channel4 – 4Food". Channel4. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "TV review: Heston's Fantastical Food". Guardian. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "Heston’s Fantastical Food came across as a self-indulgent game". Metro. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "'Molecular gastronomy is dead.' Heston speaks out". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Bristol University, Public and Ceremonial Events Office, Heston Marc Blumenthal". Bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "World's best chef and Oscar-winning director receive honorary degrees". Reading.ac.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- McGrath, Nick (31 March 2012). "Heston Blumenthal: My food is really emotional". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- Wickes, Nici (18 April 2012). "Heston Blumenthal: The Mad Chef". NZ Herald (Auckland). Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "Music influences our tastebuds". NZ Herald (Auckland,). 27 April 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- Simpson, Aislinn (1 Mar 2009). "Heston Blumenthal gets welcome boost amid Fat Duck food poisoning scare". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- Anon. " “Seafood served with an ipod:Heston’s latest recipe”, The Daily Mail, London, 16 April 2007. Retrieved on 9 July 2012.
- Susan Russo Bacon gets its just desserts 1 December 2009 NPR
- "World's best chef and Oscar-winning director receive honorary degrees".
- "British Airways Great Britons Programme". Ba.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Murphy, Victoria (May 31, 2012). "Picnic at the palace: Heston Blumenthal rustles up a Diamond Jubilee feast". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Preece, Rob (June 5, 2012). "The princes, princesses, knights of the realm (and a cook): So who WAS who in the Royal Box at the Diamond Jubilee Concert?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Ramsden, James (October 12, 2012). "Heston's new ready meals: hit or miss?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- “Queen serves up reward for chefs”, “BBC News”, London, 31 December 2005. Retrieved on 5 December 2012.
- “Heston Blumenthal to open the University's new Innovation Lab”, “University of Reading”, Reading, 25 October 2005. Retrieved on 5 December 2012.
- “Royal Society of Chemistry honours leading chef”, “Royal Society of Chemistry”, London, 26 July 2006. Retrieved on 5 December 2012.
- “Bristol University: Public and Ceremonial Events Office - Heston Marc Blumenthal”, “University of Bristol”, Bristol, 20 February 2007. Retrieved on 5 December 2012.
- Lacey, Hester. “The Inventory:Heston Blumenthal”, “Financial Times”, London, 15 July 2011. Retrieved on 9 July 2012.
- Official website of the Fat Duck restaurant
- Blumenthal's biography
- Heston Blumenthal's column in The Times
- Heston Blumenthal recipes at www.bbc.co.uk