Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fun: I Heart Heston Blumenthal

I've got the maddest chef crush on Heston Blumenthal right now. I mean, mad love. There's a very simple reason for this: he's a genius. I've never seen a cooking show with such simple instructions to such "complicated" dishes. He makes you feel like you can make perfect food like him using his simple instructions. The funny thing about it is, you can! He studies food, ingredients, reasons for why and wherefore and then simplifies it, translates it into doable, and then perfects it.

Have you ever had one of those, "Why didn't I think of that?" moments? When you watch him work, you have a million of those all the time. He blows me away. There is no one that I know of that does what he does, the way he does it.

I don't know if you know this about me, but I think molecular gastronomy is a bunch of poppy cosh. It completely deviates from the realm of cooking into the realm of ridiculous mad scientists. The warmth of the dish is removed and chefs end up playing Einstein with their food instead of perfecting what is there in front of them. Furthermore, young chefs getting into the business end up missing out on the basics and foundation of cooking in search of the perfect "deconstruction" of the banana split - or what have you. It's a fad that will blow over, because in the end people want what they've wanted for centuries, good food.

Heston Blumenthal is a perfect example of someone who doesn't get carried away by this ridiculous (while temporarily entertaining) trend. He is a scientist of food nontheless, because he diligently studies and perfects his dishes, but he will never make it cold, uninviting, technical, and furniture-like. The food one serves must make people want to eat it, not frame it. And that's where molecular gastronomy goes off the deep end for me. I believe he does dabble in it, but he doesn't let it take over everything he does, which is the case with most of the chefs working in that area. I saw a deconstructed caprese salad and it made me sad.

I heart Heston Blumenthal, and now that you've seen some of these videos, I think you do, too.

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