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Heston Blumenthals 'The Fat Duck' cookbook is not just a cookbook. In fact you would be very hard pushed to actually make any of the recipes unless you have a science laborotory in your kitchen. Depite this it is a fascinating read and certinly takes pride of place on my shelf of cookbooks.
The book is divided into three sections.
The first section titled 'history' guides you through Hestons route into cookery and his development into one of the worlds top chefs. It decribes the setting up of his restaurants and his facination with the science of food. To be honest, Heston could have written this section as it's own book and I would have enjoyed the read. It is clear he is knowledgabe and articulate in his writing and it was a pleasure to discover what makes him tick.
The second section titled 'recipes' focuses on some of his signature dishes. He explains the science behind them and gives details of how to cook them. Each recipe includes a list of equipment needed and the instructions to make each contributing part of the dish.
Recipes include treasures such as liqorice poached salmon, Snail Porridge and Bacon and Egg Ice cream.
Unless you have access to equipment such as vaccum sealers, airators, dehydrators, macerators and a ready supply of liquid nitrogen, the recipes are going to be a challenge. Whilst these are going to be hard to achieve I found the ideas inspirational and the science fascinating. The ideas really made me look at cooking in a new way.
The third section 'Science' focuses on the science of food. I can;t use the word 'fascinating' enough. Whether the ice formation of ice cream or the chemical process in cooking meat are discussed they are informative and interesting to read.
The book is well presented with beautiful pictures and illustrations. It is well laid out and the size and construction make it feel like something special.
Priced at around £25 it's an expensive cookbook. But it really is great reading if you are interested in more than recipes. I stronly recommend this book to any budding michelin chefs for an insight into how exciting food preparation can be.